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*iiyjilL!A CAKfWRIGHT;-* 



3 1822 00593 3361 


Central University Library 

University of California, San Diego 
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Date Due 


DEC 2 199^ 



MAR 6 1995 


JAN 2 6 N95 

MAY 1 ZOOt — 

1^15" ip 

V, 2. 

CI 39 (7/93) 

UCSD Lib. 



the 13th to the i6th Centuries. Illustrated, 

MANTUA, 1474- 1539. A Study of the 
Renaissance. With Illustrations. 2 vols. 

THE PILGRIMS' WAY. From Winchester to 
Canterbury. With 8 Coloured and numerous 
other Illustrations by A. H. Hallam Murray. 


FECT COURTIER. His Life AND Letters, 
1478-1529. With numerous Illustrations. 2 vols. 

With Illustrations. 


OF FAWSLEY, 1850-84. With Illustrations. 

Central University Library 

University of California, San Diego 

Please Note: This item is subject to recall 
after two weeks. 

Date Due 

nri"^ r. ,- 

' V. ._ 

^'^' 11 1990 

CI 39 (1/90) UCSDUb. 

.-l.znJ^icUJ%jC ;i*%..e/tf. 






" La prima donna del mondoJ" 


" D'opere illustri e di bet studi ^mica, 
Cli io non so ben se piii leggiadra e bella, 
Mi debba dire, piii saggia e pudica 
Liberate e magnajiima Isabella." 





First Edition 
Second Edition 

Cheaper Edition 

Reprinted , 

February 1903 
September 1 903 
November 1 904 
May 1907 
November 191 1 
November 1915 
Februarv 1923 


i'i'miyi^i"iSI,^.\Sf,f*'-IFORNIA SAN OIEGO 

1822 00593 3361 





Cristoforo Romano's letters — Caradosso's cup and inkstand 
— Cristoforo in Rome — The Cupid of Praxiteles acquired 
for Isabella's studio — Cristoforo at Naples — Isabella's 
medals shown to the Queens— Cristoforo's love for 
Urbino — His death at Loreto — Sabbi da Castiglione, 
Knight of S. John — Sabb4 in Rhodes — His passion for 
antiques and letters to Isabella — Travels in the Isles of 
Greece — Antique marbles and medals sent to Mantua 
— He returns to Italy and writes his memoirs . . 1-19 



Isabella's library in the Grotta — Her relations with Aide 
Manuzio — Letters of Lorenzo da Pavia and of Aldo — 
The Aldine editions of classics — Isabella's letters to 
Aldo — He is thrown into prison on Mantuan territory 
— Letter of the Emperor Maximilian to Isabella on his 
behalf — Death of Aldo Manuzio — Lorenzo da Pavia's 
last letters to Isabella — His joui*ney to Rome and 
death ....... 20-30 



War of the League of Cambray — Defeat of the Venetians 
at Vaila — Capture of the Marquis of Mantua near 



Legnago — His imprisonment at Venice — Isabella ad- 
ministers the Government — Her efforts to obtain 
Francesco's release — Leonora goes to Urbino — Presents 
of Isabella to the Bishop of Gurlc and Queen of France 
— The Pope grants absolution to Venice and obtains 
the release of Francesco Gonzaga — Federico sent as 
hostage to Rome — His life at the Vatican and visits to 
Bulogna and Urbino ..... 31-49 



The Pope's campaign against Ferrara — Isabella's anxiety 
to restore peace — The Bishop of Gurk at Mantua — 
Bologna captured by the French — The Uuke of 
Urbino murders Cardinal Alidosi — Dangerous illness 
of the Pope — His recovery ascribed to Federico's in- 
fluence — Death of Isabella's pet dog. Aura — The Holy 
League against France — Victory and death of Gaston 
de Foix at Ravenna — The French driven out of Italy — ■ 
Federico at the Vatican — The Belvedere Apollo and 
Tiber statue — Visit of the Duke of Ferrara to Rome . 50-64 



The Congress of Mantua — The Viceroy of Naples, Bishop of 
Gurk, and Giuliano dei Medici at Mantua — Maximilian 
Sforza declared Duke of Milan by the allies — Isabella's 
intrigues in his favour — The Medici restored by Spanish 
troops — Sack of Prato and return of Giuliano and 
Giovanni dei Medici to Florence — Congratulations of 
Isabella — Her intrigues on behalf of Ferrara — The 
Pope's threats — Cardinal Gurk in Rome — Carnival 
fetes and Fra Mariano — Federico's portrait painted by 
Raphael — Death of Julius II. — Election of Pope Leo 
X. — Bibbiena becomes a Cardinal . . . 65-79 





Isabella spends the carnival at Milan — Duke Maximilian 
Sforza — His weakness and extravagance — The Viceroy 
of Naples and Cardinal Gurk at Milan — Isabella and 
her ladies — Her letter to the Marquis in self-defence — 
Brognina and Alda Boiarda dismissed from her service 
— Tebaldeo attacks Mario Equicola and Isabella — In- 
dignation of the Marchesa — Her letter to Cardinal 
d'Este — Duchess Ehsabetta's reply . , . 80-92 



Invasion of Lombardy by the French — Their defeat by the 
Swiss at Novara — Isabella's journey to Milan stopped 
by the illness of the Marquis — Papal intrigues against 
Ferrara — Visit of Raimondo de Cardona to Mantua — 
Journey of Isabella to the Lago di Garda — Her letters 
from Lonato, Sermione, and Sal6 — Trissino presents 
his " Ritratti " to her — Portrait of the Marchesa intro- 
duced — Visit of Isabella to Milan and Pavia . 93-109 



Isabella's visit to Rome — Her reception by Cardinal 
Bibbiena and Giuliano dei Medici — Fetes in her honour 
— Representation of " La Calandria " in the Vatican — 
Her visit to Naples — Leo X. keeps her in Rome for 
the carnival — Her return to Mantua and regrets for 
Rome — Francis I. attacks Milan — Victory of Marignano 
— Abdication of Maximilian Sforza — Federico Gonzaga 
at the French Court — Death of Giuliano — Conquest of 
Urbino by Lorenzo dei Medici — Flight of the Duke 
and Duchesses to Mantua . , . 110-128 





The Duchesses of Urbino live in great poverty at Mantua — 
Raphael's dishes melted down — Marriage of Castiglione 
— Francesco Maria tries to recover Urbino, but is 
forced to make terms with the Pope — Isabella's journey 
to Provence — Betrothal of Federico Gonzaga to Maria 
di Montferrato — Isabella's Latin studies — Visit of 
Contarini and Soranzo to the Castello — Cristoforo 
Solari at Mantua — Fra Francesco at Porto — Bandello 
the novelist — His relations with the Marchesa and 
pictures of her court .... 129-153 



Death of the Emperor Maximilian — Of the Marquis Fran- 
cesco Gonzaga — His death-bed and funeral — Proclama- 
tion of his son Federico — Death of Lucrezia Borgia — 
Of Isabella's secretary, Capilupi — Mario Equicola 
succeeds him — Death of Lorenzo de Medici, Duke of 
Urbino — Mission of Castiglione to Rome — Urbino 
annexed to the Papal States — Raphael designs a 
tomb for the Marquis Francesco — His picture for 
Isabella — Portrait of Federico sent to Mantua — 
Mentioned in Charles the First's inventories — Trial of 
Longueil — Pandolfo Pico's letter on the death of 
Raphael ,.,,.. 154-170 



Titian visits Mantua — Admires Mantegna's works — Visit of 
the papal nuncio Chiericati — His letters to Isabella 
from Spain and England — Description of the court 
of Henry VIII. — Pilgrimage to Ireland, and strange 



adventures — The sweating sickness in London — 
Chiericati helps Isabella to restore friendly relations 
with Charles V. — Her influence and that of Castiglione 
at the Vatican — Death of Ippolita Torelli — Letters of 
the Marchesa and her son to Castiglione — Death of 
Cardinal Bibbiena . . . . 171-187 



The Court of Mantua under Federico — Visit of the Marquis 
to Venice — His mistress, Isabella Boschetti — The 
Marchesa goes to Loreto — The Duke of Urbino forced 
to leave Mantua — Federico leads the papal troops 
against the French — Capture of Milan — Retreat of 
Lautrec — Death of Pope Leo X. — Cardinal Gonzaga 
aspires to the Papacy— Election of Adrian VI. — Fran- 
cesco Maria recovers Urbino — Francesco Sforza returns 
to Milan — Defence of Pavia by Federico, and defeat of 
the French — Isabella's new apartments in the Corte 
Vecchia — The Paradiso .... 188-208 



Ercole Gonzaga — Isabella tries to obtain his elevation to 
the Cardinalate — Consults Castiglione and Trissino as 
to the choice of a tutor — Sends Ercole to Bologna — He 
attends Pomponazzi's lectures — The great sceptic — 
His "Treatise on Immortality" burnt at Venice — 
Ercole's life at college — M. Lazzaro his teacher — 
Death of Pietro Pomponazzi — Veneration of Ercole 
Gonzaga for his memory .... 209-222 


1523 — 1525 

Castiglione in Rome — Pope Adrian's reforms — Chiericati at 
the Diet of Nurnberg — His letters to Isabella — 



Journey of Magellan — Visit of Isabella to Venice — 
Nava<rero and Titian — Doge Andrea Gritti enters into 
an alliance with Charles V. — The Pof)e joins the 
League — Death of Adrian VI. — Election of Clement 
VII. — Castiglione sent to Rome — Wars of Lombardy — 
The Connetable de Bourbon at Mantua — Isabella in 
Venice — Ferrante Gonzaga goes to Spain — Castiglione 
sent by the Pope to Madrid — Giulio Romano at Mantua 
— Isabella Boschetti .... 223-242 



Isabella goes to Rome — Visits Urbino and Loreto — Is re- 
ceived by the Pope — Occupies the Palazzo SS. Apostoli 
— Death of Cardinal Gonzaga and of Duchess Elisabetta 
of Urbino — The Imperialists advance southwards — 
Passage of the Po, and death of Giovanni delle Bande 
Nere at Mantua — Lannoy and the Pope sign a truce — 
Bourbon advances against Rome — The Marquis of 
Mantua warns the Pope — Isabella refuses to leave 
Rome — Fortifies her house, and gives shelter to am- 
bassadors and Roman ladies — Ercole Gonzaga made a 
Cardinal ..... 243-257 



Siege of Rome — Death of Bourbon — Rome sacked during 
three days — Alessandro and Ferrante Gonzaga protect 
Isabella's palace — Scenes of carnage in the city — 
Cruelty and sacrilege of the soldiers — Isabella leaves 
Rome for Ostia — Returns to Mantua — Is received with 
great joy — Escape of the Venetian ambassador — 
General horror at the capture and sack of Rome — 
Grief of Isabella's friends — Letters of Bembo, of 
Erasmus, and of Sadoleto — Death of Castiglione in 
Spain .,,... 258-271 





Misery of Italy — Plague in Mantua — Federico's buildings 
— Isabella's Roman antiquities lost on the voyage — 
Her correspondence with the Roman dealer^ Raphael 
of Urbiiio — Sebastiano del Piombo— Cardinal Ercole's 
love of art and letters — Death of Emilia Pia — Veronica 
Gambara and Correggio's Magdalen — The Allegories 
painted by Correggio for Isabella's Studio — Titian 
visits Mantua and paints Isabella's portrait — Copy by 
Rubens at Vienna .... 272-285 



Marriage of Ercole d'Este to Renee de France — Isabella 
goes to Modena to receive the bride — Fetes at Ferrara 
— Character of Renee — Isabella's regard for her niece 
— Renee's sympathy with French and Italian reformers 
— Isabella's toleration — Messibugo's Book of Ercole's 
festival — Treaties of Barcelona and Cambray — Charles 
V. lands at Genoa — Is entertained by the Duke of 
Ferrara on his way to Bologna — Ferrante Gonzaga 
marches against Florence — Isabella visits Solarolo — 
Arrives at Bologna for the Congress — State entry of 
Charles V. ..... 236-303 



Illustrious visitors to Bologna — Veronica Gambara and the 
humanists — Isabella's political objects — Ferrante Gon- 
zaga seeks the hand of Isabella Colonna, who is already 
wedded to Luigi Rodomonte — Favour shown to the 
Marquis of Mantua — Francesco Sforza receives the in- 
vestiture of Milan — Proclamation of universal peace — 
Florence alone excluded from the League — Fetes and 



balls at Christmas and Carnival — Cliarles V. receives 
the iron crown of Lonibardy and the golden crown of 
the Holy Roman Empire from the Pope's hands — 
Coronation in San Petronio — The Duke of Ferrara 
comes to Bologna, and is reconciled to the Pope 304^-322 



Charles V. at Mantua — The Marquis Federico created Duke, 
and betrothed to the Infanta Giulia — Capture of Flor- 
ence by Ferrante Gonzaga — Isabella goes to Venice — 
Titian employed by the Duke to paint a Magdalen for 
Vittoria Colonna — Death of Bonifazio, Marquis of Mon- 
ferrato — Federico breaks off" his contract with Donna 
Giulia, and asks for the hand of Maria di Monferrato — 
Death of this Princess — Federico asks for her sister 
Marjjherita's hand — Goes to Casale for the wedding — 
Giulio Romano adds new rooms to the Castello — Isa- 
bella superintends their decoration, and receives the 
bride ...... 323-343 



Isabella at Venice — Death of Margherita Cantelma — Mar- 
riage of Ferrante Gonzaga — Duchess Margherita 
Paleologa — Ariosto and Bernardo Tasso send the Mar- 
chesa their poems — Visit of the Emperor Charles V. 
to Mantua — Marriage and death of the Marquis of 
Monferrato — His State annexed to Mantua — Birth of 
a son to Duke Federico — Titian paints Isabella's por- 
trait from the original by Francia . . 344-357 



Relations of Isabella with Ferrara — Stabellino's letters — 
Duchess Renee and her child Anna d'Este — Death of 



Duke Alfonso — Isabella's trip to the Lake of Garda — 
Her favourite dwarfs — The government of Solarolo — 
Leonora of Urbino — Her son Guidobaldo's marriage — 
Manufacture of embroidered stuffs and caps at Mantua 
— Isabella's majolica dinner services — Plates in the 
Museo Correr and British Museum — Cardinal Gonzaga 
sends his mother a medal of Aristotle — Her interest in 
gardening — The gardens at Porto — Trissino begs the 
help of her gardener at his villa of Cricoli . 358-373 



Visit of Leonora, Duchess of Urbino to Mantua — Titian's 
portraits of the Duke and Duchess — Death of Fran- 
cesco Maria — Of Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan — Of 
Luigi Rodomonte and Antonia del Balzo — Visit of 
Pietro Bembo — The collections of the Grotta — Paint- 
ings and library of Isabella d'Este — Vittoria Colonna — 
Last visit of Isabella d'Este to Ferrara — Her love for 
her grandchildren — Duke Ercole lends her his palace 
at Venice — Her last illness and death — Her tomb 
in S. Francesco destroyed by the French — Death of 
Duke Federico — The Mantuan collections sold and the 
Castello sacked — Character of Isabella d'Este . 374-391 

INDEX ,..,.. 393 


Isabella d'Este . . > . . . . Frontispiece 

From the Portrait by Titian, in the Imperial Museum, 
Vienna {Photogravure) 

Sala. Castello di Mantova .... To face page 20 

Leonora Gonzaga, Duchess of Urbino (La 

Bella di Tiziano) ..... „ 128 

From the Portrait by Titian in the Pltti Gallery [Photo- 

PoNTE San Giorgio ...,,, ,,146 

Fresco or Ceiling. Sala Degli Sposi, Mantua ,, 172 

By Andrea Mantegna 

Paradiso. Castello di Mantova ... „ 206 

Elisabetta Gonzaga, Duchess of Urbino , , „ 250 

By G. Caroto 

Count Baldassarre Castiglionk . • „ 272 

From the Portrait by Raphael in the Louvre {Photo- 

Paradiso. Castello di Mantova ... ,, 378 




Cristoforo Romano's letters — Caradosso's cup and inkstand — Cristo- 
foro in Rome — The Cupid of Praxiteles acquired for Isabella's 
studio — Cristoforo at Naples — Isabella's medal shown to the 
Queens — Cristoforo's love for Urbino — His death at Loreto — 
Sabba da Castiglione, Knight of S. John — Sabba in Rhodes 
— His passion for antiques and letters to Isabella — Travels in 
the Isles of Greece — Antique marbles and medals sent to 
Mantua — He returns to Italy and Avrites his memoirs. 

Chief among the artists in Isabella's service who 
were constantly helping her to acquire new treasures 
for her studio was the sculptor Cristoforo Romano. 
The incurable malady from which he suffered hindered 
his own work and obliged him to seek frequent change 
of air, but wherever he went he never forgot the 
interests of his mistress, and his letters from Milan, 
Bologna, and Rome abound in allusions to the antique 
marbles and richly worked cups, gems, and medals 
which he advised her to buy. In February 1502 we find 
him at Venice enjoying the company of his friends 
Michele Vianello and Lorenzo da Pavia. On his return 
to Mantua he fell dangerously iU, and in August 
Isabella's friend, Margherita Cantelma, invited the 
Marchesa to send him to Ferrara to consult a clever 
physician, Messer Sebastiano d' Aquila, who had cured 



her husband, Meyser Sigismondo, and who promised 
to restore him to healtli in a few days, offering to 
receive him in her own house and nurse him herself. 
After another bad attack in 1505 he went to stay at 
Milan with Leonardo's friend, Marco della Torre, and 
wrote several lively letters to the Marchesa describ- 
ing the change which lie found at this once brilliant 
court, and saying that the only house where you still 
meet cultured men and women is that of Madonna 
Margherita di San Severino, the sister of EmiUa Pia. 
But the air has already done him good, and he is 
busy ordering marbles and preparing designs for 
the tomb of Suor Osanna. In July he wrote to tell 
the Marchesa of a wonderful bowl in the shape of 
a wine-cooler, which that rare artist Caradosso had 
made of forty-nine pieces of crystal mounted on a 
richly chased stand of silver-gilt and enamel, and which 
she must have, because it will exactly match one 
that is already in the Grotta. But she must on no 
account let Caradosso know this till the bargain is 
concluded, or the cunning old man will clap on 
another 50 ducats. As it is, he asks a high price, 
and has already refused an offer of 300 ducats from 
Bishop Louis Gonzaga. When Cristoforo offered 400 
in the Marchesa s name the goldsmith still hesitated, 
but offered to bring it to Mantua himself, in order 
that Her Excellency might see for herself that it was 
not a matter in which an extra 50 ducats or so was 
to be grudged. " But Caradosso," the sculptor adds, 
"has also finished the most perfectly beautiful ink- 
stand of this age or of any other. He asks 1000 ducats, 
and if you had to give 10,000 I should advise you not 
to let it go, because it is a thing absolutely unique." * 

* A. Bertolotti, Artisti, &c. ; A, Venturi, Arch. St. d. Arte,i. Il6. 


Ten days later Crist of oro wrote a^ain to tell the 
Marchesa that the Pope had invited him to Rome, 
but that he hoped to finish his design before leaving 
Milan, and wished to know exactly how much she 
was prepared to spend on the monument. " As little 
as possible I " he imagines, and proceeds to suggest a 
sum of 150 ducats. For this he proposes to raise a 
modest tomb with the saint's sleeping effigy under a 
black marble canopy, crowned with bronze putti and 
candelabra, and supported by four columns of white 
Carrara marble, poUshed so as to look like silver. 
This graceful design, which is reproduced in the Acta 
Sanctorum of the BoUandists, met with general ap- 
proval at Milan, and was taken to the Marchesa in 
September by Caradosso when he set out on his 
journey with the precious cup and inkstand. Mean- 
while, late one evening, news reached Cristoforo that 
his friend, Margherita Cantelma, was lying dangerously 
ill at Mortara, some miles from Milan, and that her 
doctor, Aquila, refused to go to her that night. " I 
could have wished myself elsewhere ! " he wrote to 
the Marchesa, " but. Madonna Margherita's life being 
as dear to me as it is to you, I hastened to find 
Aquila, and forced him by my importunity to ac- 
company me to Mortara at midnight. There was no 
moon, so we had only lanterns to guide us, and were 
nearly drowned in the Ticino, and when at length we 
reached Mortara we found the poor lady in a dying 
state. But with great rapidity he mixed a potion, 
which had the most marvellous effect and brought 
her back from death to life, and we stayed with her 
four days, until she was out of danger. Now we hear 
that she is improving every day. She was only skin 
and bones, poor lady I but she asked continually after 


Your Signory, and when she was at the worst, kept 
begging me to find some pretty present to send 

The Marchesa herself was ill of fever at the time, 
but wrote on the 27th of September to thank 
Cristoforo for his services, and tell him that she 
had seen Caradosso and greatly admired the cup, 
but found it too large for her studio, and was 
hoping soon to see the inkstand, wliich was not 
yet quite finished.^ " If you go to Rome," she adds, 
" we hope you will present yourself to His HoUness, 
and all others, as our servant and sculptor, which 
you are, and will, I hope, always remain, knowing 
that this does us great honour. And we are truly 
glad to hear that change of air continues to do 
you good." 

It was now Cristoforo's turn to express his 
concern at the Marchesa's illness ; and in a long 
letter from Bologna he sent her greetings from Casio, 
who was about to accompany him to Rome, and 
told her of all the masses and prayers which he 
had ordered to be offered up on her behalf. Isabella 
replied in a long letter, written early in November, 
shortly before the birth of her second son Ercole, 
full of directions and messages to her friends in Rome. 

" We are very glad to hear that you are on your 
way to Rome, where we would rather see you than 
in any other place, and we hope that you will serve 
us as well there as you did at Milan, and will especi- 
ally endeavour to find us some rare antiques from 
the recent excavations, with which we may adorn 

* Sig. Venturi states that Caradosso's inkstand, which Isabella 
eventually purchased for her studio, is now in the Dreyfus col- 
lection in Paris {op. cit.). 


our studio. First of all you might see the sons of 
Zampeluna, who has lately died, and has, we hear, 
left many fine things which may suit us. And if 
you have need of any help in obtaining these an- 
tiques, you might present yourself as our servant 
to the Cardinal di S. Prassede (Antonio Pallavicino), 
who, out of love to us, will give you the help of 
his authority. You can also confer with Brognolo, 
who is at present in Rome. Let us know when you 
have made any bargain, and we will send the money. 
I knew you would be grieved to hear of our illness, 
because of the love you bear us, and if you offered 
prayers and vows to God for our health, they came 
from a faithful and understanding soul, and were 
well-pleasing to us. We are now recovering, by 
God's grace, and are regaining strength every day. 
Go in peace, with our best wishes for your health." 

Soon after Cristoforo reached Rome, the Mantuan 
agent, Lodovico Brognolo, informed Isabella that, 
although he is aware her heart is set on antiques, 
he is sending her a cameo, which Messer Zoan 
Cristoforo has praised for its rare beauty, and for 
which, by his advice, he has paid 20 ducats. Then 
we hear of other treasures, bronzes and medals 
and marbles, which have been dug up during the 
recent excavations, and eventually find their way 
to Mantua. " As I know Your Highness is anxious 
to secure antiques to adorn your Grotta," writes 
Fra Serafino, a clown who was in high favour both 
at Mantua and Urbino, " I send you a marble figure, 
which was lately dug up here. Your Excellency is 
so learned in these things that you will, I am sure, 
recognise its beauty and understand its meaning at 
once, without sending for Zoan Cristoforo. And 


I beg you to place it in your Grotta for my sake." * 
Then Stazio Gadio, her son's tutor, tells her of a 
head of Ariadne and a fine marble satyr, which have 
been lately brought to light. Unfortunately Isabella 
was compelled to decline these offers, sorely against 
her will, having no money to spare, since she had 
spent too much in building a new house ; although 
she owned that, were she to see these antiquities, it 
was quite possible they would please her so much that 
she would have to keep them. 2 But in the course 
of that autumn she did succeed in adding one antique 
of rare beauty to her collection — a Cupid sleeping 
on a hon's skin, which was ascribed to Praxiteles. 
The precious marble belonged to Alessandro Bonatti, 
and after a prolonged correspondence was ultimately 
acquired by her agent, Brognolo, with the help of 
Cardinal di S. Prassede, Duke Guidobaldo, and his 
nephew, Francesco Maria. It was sent to Mantua 
in December, and placed in the Grotta, where De 
Thou saw it when he visited the Castello in 1573, 
and pronounced it to be still more beautiful than 
the famous Cupid of Michel Angelo. A tradition 
indeed was current at Mantua in those days that 
Michel Angelo himself, conscious of the superiority 
of the Greek marble, begged the Marchesa always 
to show his Cupid to visitors before they were allowed 
to see the genuine antique. Cristoforo Romano, 
who took a keen interest in the Roman excavations, 
and was present with Michel Angelo when the Laocoon 
was discovered in the bed of the Tiber, praised this 
Cupid as one of the finest things which he had seen, 
in a very interesting letter which he wrote to Isabella 
on the 1st of December. 

^ Luzio e Ilenier, Mantova e Urbino, p. l68. 
* D'Arco, Arle e Artejici, ii. 77. 


" Illustrious Lady mine, — This morning I pre- 
sented your letter with much pleasure to the Cardinal 
di S. Prassede, delivering it with my own hands, 
and he spoke very warmly of you, and made me 
all manner of offers in your name, for which I thanked 
him sincerely. Only he is so old that he will hardly 
be able to do much more for us. Thank God I 
am keeping well, and live happy under the shadow 
of Your Excellency's protection, which follows me 
all over the world. Yesterday I kissed the feet of 
His Holiness and saluted him in your name, which 
pleased him greatly. He sends you his best thanks, 
and will attend to your wishes, of which I informed 
him ; but, as he was engaged with these Cardinals, 
I could not say anything more to him. Since then 
I have been spending my time in revisiting the 
remains of ancient Rome. So many 'fine things' 
have been discovered since I was here last that I 
am dumbfoundered at the sight. Here many people 
take interest in these matters, so that it has become 
very difficult to get the best things, unless you are 
the fii'st to see them and ready to pay well, as 
they soon fetch large prices. I must go and see a 
bronze relief worked in silver, which I hear is very 
fine, and which, it seems to me. Your Highness 
might hke. I will strike the bargain if I can, be- 
cause it would be an ornament worthy of any place. 
And I will keep my eyes open, and have already 
told the excavators to let me know, before any one 
else, if they find a really good antique, and I will 
lose no opportunity of serving you. But, if Your 
Excellency comes to Rome this carnival, I am sure 
many fine presents will be given you, and here your 
coming is awaited with the utmost eagerness. I 


have already told several Cardinals that you are 
coming to Rome without fail, and I know they will 
give you so warm a welcome, and you will be so 
happy, and this place and everything here will 
please you so well, that you vnll grieve to leave 
it, and will often wish to return, and this for many 
reasons. Because, in the first place, you will find 
sweet and pleasant company, most of all that of 
Madonna Felice, the Pope's daughter, a most charm- 
ing lady, of rare intellect and goodness, very fond 
of antiques, of letters, and of all good works, and 
a devoted slave of Your Highness, as she has often 
told me. I rejoice to hear of your fine boy. Thank 
God your illness has ended so happily I Be of good 
cheer, dear lady, and may God give you much joy 
in your children. I repeat that the Cupid which 
Brognolo has secured for you is a most rare and 
excellent thing, and I swear, by the God I adore, 
that if it had been bought for any one but Your 
Highness it should never have left Rome. In old 
days, when I was a boy, I used all my power and 
skill to prevent such things going to the Cardinal 
of Aragon and Lorenzo dei Medici, because it grieved 
me then, as it still grieves me to-day, to see Rome 
stripped of all its treasures. And there are few such 
marbles left here now. But for Your Excellency's 
sake I would do anything, and care for nothing 
else in the world as long as I am able to please 
you. — Your servant, Zoan Cristoforg Romano."^ 
Cristoforo's description of the rage for antiques 
which prevailed at the time in Rome, and of the 
difficulty of securing any really good work at a 
reasonable price, is confirmed by another of Isabella's 

^ A. Venturi, op. cit. 


correspondents, a Greek scholar, Giorgio diNegroponto, 
whom she had also commissioned to send her some 
beautiful thing for the Grotta. " Although, in truth," 
he writes to the Marchesa on the 19th of May 1507, 
" nothing is left of ancient Rome but her immortal 
name, with some ruins and fragments of statues, 
whenever I see something of rare excellence I wish 
for the magician's wand to waft it to my dear lady. 
If it costs me my life, I will manage to send some 
beautiful antique, but indeed, Madama mia, this is 
a work of great difficulty. For, if such a thing is 
found, there are in a moment so many buyers in 
the market that it needs a miracle to secure it. I 
hear of men buying finely worked medals, covered 
with rust, for 8 or 10 ducats, and seUing them for 
25 or 30, and sometimes they lose, and at other 
times they make money. Not four days ago a 
man bought a medal of Nero for 6 ducats, and after 
cleaning it could have sold it for 12 ducats, but 
would not take less than 25. Last Saturday a 
Roman, who was digging in his garden in the Campo 
di Fiori, found a Hercules clad in the hon's skin, 
holding a club in the right hand, and in the left a 
boy of four years old. Phsedrus (the learned Cardinal 
Inghirami, whose portrait was painted by Raphael) 
says that the statue is not a Hercules at all, but 
represents the Emperor Commodus. It was taken 
to the Vatican the day after it had been dug up, and 
I hear that His Holiness has given the lucky finder 
a benefice worth 130 ducats a year." 

This statue of Hercules and Telephus, or Commo- 
dus with the attributes of Hercules, as it is sometimes 
called, is still one of the ornaments of the Belvedere 
Museum, where it was placed by Pope Julius. Three 


months later, this same Cioifrio offered Isabella an 
antique pavement of porphyry, serpentine, and other 
coloured marbles, but we do not hear if she was 
able to pay for it, gladly as she would have obtained 
it for her Grotta/ 

Unfortunately Isabella's wish to visit Rome was 
once more disappointed. Several years passed away, 
and her friend, the sculptor, had long been in his 
grave, when she at length saw the wonders of the 
Eternal City. On the very day that she received 
Mantegna's Faustina, she wrote joyfully to tell 
Cristoforo, who fully appreciated the value of her 
latest acquisition. " We think you have heard,*' she 
wrote on the 5th of August 1506, "how we secured 
M. Vianello's agate vase and painting of Pharaoh, 
and now we have also obtained possession of the 
Faustina of M. Andrea Mantegna. So, little by 
little, we are forming a studio of our own. Be stil] 
on the look-out for any antiques, bronzes, medals, of 
other excellent things, and let us know their prices 
quickly, but in any case buy the medals, and we 
will not fail to send the money." ^ 

This paragraph forms the postscript to a long 
letter which the Marchesa devotes to one of those 
practical jokes which these great ladies were fond of 
playing on their courtiers. In this case, the person 
m question was Bernardo Accolti, the brilliant 
improvisatore known as TUnico Aretino, whose 
popularity was so great in Rome that the shops 
were shut and the streets deserted when he began 
to recite. This eccentric poet professed the most 
extravagant adoration for the Duchess of Urbino, 

1 Luzio in Arch. St. Lomb., 1886, p. 9*. 
" A. Venturi, Arch. St. d. Arte, i. 151. 


while his excessive vanity exposed him to frequent 
attacks from the wits and jesters at her court.^ On 
this occasion Isabella had desired Cristoforo Romano 
to give the poet one of her portrait medals when he 
saw him at Fossombrone, on his way to Rome, but 
the Duchess, by way of teasing her adorer, begged 
the sculptor only to show him the Marchesa's medal 
and tell him that he could not spare a replica. As 
EUsabetta expected, the Aretine's jealousy was 
greatly excited when he found how many of these 
medals had been distributed in Rome and Urbino 
among Isabella's friends, and he filled both courts 
with bitter complaints. At length the Duchess 
began to think it was time to put an end to his 
delusion, and Isabella sent Cristoforo a letter feign- 
ing the utmost displeasure at his forgetfulness in 
neglecting to give the Aretine her medal. In a 
postscript she privately begged him to let the poet 
see this fictitious document, in order to save EHsa- 
betta's reputation, and prevent the spoilt favourite 
from discovering the trick which had caused every 
one else so much amusement. This was only one 
of many similar pieces of fooling in which both 
these wise and middle-aged princesses took dehght, 
and which the extravagant adulation of the Aretine's 
language and sentiments provoked. The cruelty of 
the traitress of Urbino and the fascinating wiles of 
the siren of Mantua — " la ficatella delta Marchesana 
e la giotoncella de la Duchessa di TJrhino^'' as he 
presumed to style these illustrious ladies — were the 
perpetual themes of the letters and verses which he 
addressed to his patrons, and which they accepted 
and answered in the same singular strain. 

1 Dennistoun, op. cit., vol. ii. p. 63. 


Another replica of the Marchesa's medal which 
Cristolbro Romano took with him to Naples in the 
autumn of 1507, was given by her orders to her 
husband's faithful secretary, Jacopo d'Atri, who had 
long been absent from Mantua, on a diplomatic 
mission to Ferdinand the Catholic, and who welcomed 
this gift with heartfelt joy. 

" Zoan Cristoforo," he wrote to Isabella on the 
24th of October, " your devoted servant, is here, and 
has given me a medal of Your Excellency, which is 
infinitely beautiful, as you are yourself. He tells me 
that he has shown it as a divine thing to all these 
Queens, who looked at it with the greatest admira- 
tion. The Queen Consort saw it before she went to 
Spain, and seemed as if she could never be tired of 
looking at it, saying that, besides rare beauty of 
feature, it showed signs of great intelligence, which 
agreed with the reputation you possessed when she 
Hved in France and made her exceedingly anxious 
to meet you." This was Germaine de Foix, the 
second wife of Ferdinand the CathoHc, who had been 
brought up at the French court. The other illus- 
trious ladies then present at Naples were Isabella's 
aunt, Beatrice, the widowed Queen of Hungary ; her 
cousin, Isabella, Duchess of Milan ; and the daughters 
of Gonsalvo de Cordova, Viceroy of Naples. " All 
the others who saw your portrait praised it in the 
highest terms, especially the gallant and gracious 
daughters of the Great Captain, who, after looking at 
it again and again a thousand times over, kissed the 
beautiful medal, saying that they too had often heard 
of your talents and virtues. I asked Zoan Cristoforo 
which of aU these great ladies would like to have a 
similar medal best, and he replied that all of them had 


praised it in the same glowing terms, but that those 
who had the best judgment gave it the highest 
praise. Above all, the fair and gallant daughters 
of the Great Captain seemed to wish exceedingly to 
possess such an effigy of Your Highness. Since 
Zoan Cristoforo has been here, he has also made a 
medal of the Duchess of Milan, which is very beauti- 
ful, and has a very skilfully wrought veil, but only 
the face and head are finished as yet. Besides this, 
he has made another of the Pope, which is very like 
him, but which people care for less, as he is old and 
ugly. But the reverse — two figures offering a 
sacrifice — is admirable, and may be compared, in 
the judgment of the best critics, to a fine antique. 
I feel sure that it will please Your Highness, whose 
servant he always remains. To-day he goes to Rome 
with the Cardinal of Aragon." ^ 

After spending the next two years in Rome and 
Urbino, where he was always a welcome guest, 
Cristoforo went to the Santa Casa of Loreto, where 
Pope Julius employed him to rebuild the Campanile 
of this famous Basihca, and to continue the works 
which Bramante had begun. He still wrote lively 
letters to his friend Bembo at the Court of Urbino, 
*' the temple of virtue and chastity," where his happiest 
days had been spent, and sent affectionate greetings 
to the Duchess and Emilia Pia. And both Isabella 
and her brother, Cardinal d'Este, exerted themselves 
to obtain a rich benefice which he coveted. But his 
health failed rapidly, and he died in IMay 1512, leaving 
to the notary who made his will his copy of Bembo's 
Asolani as his most precious possession. Casio wrote 
a Latin epitaph for his tomb at Loreto, and Isabella 

^ Venturi, op. cit. 


lamented liim as a true friend and loyal servant, as well 
as one of the most brilliant and accomplished artists 
of her court. 

There was another cultivated gentleman, the 
Knight of S. John, Fra Sabba da Castiglione, a 
kinsman of Baldassarre, and an intimate friend of 
Cristoforo Romano, who corresponded frequently 
with Isabella on those subjects which interested 
her so deeply. Born in 1484 at Milan, Fra Sabba 
had known Cristoforo and Lorenzo da Pavia at 
the Sforzas' court, and remembered Niccolo da 
Correggio as the finest gentleman of his day. On 
his way to join the Knights of his Order in the island 
of Rhodes, in May 1505, he paid a visit to Mantua 
and promised the charming Marchesa to send her 
some of the choice antiques that were daily being 
brought to light in the isles of Greece. During the 
three years which he spent on this barren island, far 
from his "sweet friends and dearly loved Italy," he 
devoted himself loyally to this task in spite of many 
difficulties. There were, as he told her, in Rhodes, 
especially in the garden of the Grand Master, many 
excellent sculptures lying despised and uncared for, 
exposed to wind and rain, which made him feel as if 
the bones of his father were unburied. But when he 
expressed his feelings in a sonnet, which he hung 
round the neck of a statue, the Knights of other 
nationaUties, " of whom," he remarks, " the less said 
the better," declared that he was an idolater, like 
all Italians, and he found it wise to hold his peace. 
Under these circumstances Fra Sabba advised 
the Marchesa to ask Monseigneur de Chaumont, 
the French Viceroy of Milan, who was a nephew 
of the Grand Master, to beg his uncle to 


send him some Greek statues and other antiquities. 
She might further suggest that, as His Reverence 
was no doubt occupied with affairs of greater im- 
portance, he should desire the Italian Era Sabba da 
Castiglione to undertake this commission. Only, 
the Marchesa must on no account allow it to appear 
that the suggestion proceeds from Sabba himself. 
" For in this case," wrote the young Knight, ** I shall 
be handed over as a pagan and heretic to the Inqui- 
sition, who will promptly reduce me to smoke and 
ashes ! Such, alas ! is the folly and malevolence of 
ignorant men ! " ^ 

In his lonely exile the poor young scholar thought 
sadly of the happy days that he had spent at Milan 
and Mantua, and begged to be affectionately remem- 
bered to Messer Marchetto, the famous singer, and 
Messer Fedele, the goldsmith. His own literary 
pursuits, he tells Isabella, are all in abeyance. His 
collection of epitaphs, which was to be dedicated to 
the Marchesa, remains unfinished, and he can make 
but little progress with a new work on Chivalry, in 
which he is attempting to draw the portrait of a good 
and perfect knight according to his own ideas. But at 
least he can discuss the subject with the Castilian 
Knights of his Order, who know, or think they know, 
a great deal on the subject. But Mars, with his 
horrid trumpet, is ever calling him to arms, and the 
hand which once held the pen must now handle sword 
and lance. For an attack from the Turk is daily 
expected, and the gallant Knights are making ready 
and await his coming with devotion and courage. 

Meanwhile his one solace, he tells his dear lady, 

1 Leltere inedite di Fra Sabba da Castiglione ; Luzio, Arch. St. 
Lomb., 1886, p. 99. 


is that he has founded a new Academy, on a strange 
Parnassus if you will — with no magnificent halls or 
golden portico, and no well-cultivated gardens gay 
with flowers, but on the barren sea-shore, where the 
waves dash against the rocks and the winds howl with 
ceaseless fury. Here he recites tragedies, comedies, 
eclogues, and satires to the music of the wild waves, 
and if a hoarse raven should chance to alight on the 
rocks and lend an attentive ear to his recitation, he 
counts himself most fortunate and marks the day 
with a white stone. " So life goes with a man doomed 
to spend his days among barbarians I But perhaps," 
he adds, " Fortune, the strong goddess, is keeping me 
for better times." There are gleams of sunshine too 
in his dreary life, as when, in the month of May, he 
goes for a summer sail to the Cyclades and sees the 
birthplace of so many divine heroes. He visits 
Delos, the home of Apollo and Diana, but could 
weep to see the broken columns and infinite number 
of marble statues, carved by the finest chisels, lying 
on the ground, and longs in vain to bear away these 
priceless fragments to adorn his lady's Grotta. All 
he can send her are his medals, which he wraps 
up in a sonnet written amid the ruins of the temple, 
so that at least she may be able to say that her 
collection boasts some antiques from the home of 

At length, after eighteen weary months, the long- 
desired letter from Monseigneur de Chaumont arrived, 
and was duly presented to the Grand Master. The 
Marchesa had acted with her habitual dexterity, and 
ere long His Most Reverend Signory gave Fra Sabba 
gracious permission to search for ancient marbles and 

1 Luzio, op. cit., pp. 100-105. 


send them by ship to Venice. The poor Knight 
was in the seventh heaven ! Now at length he may 
roam at will through the island, seeking out new 
treasures with the eyes of Argus, without fear of being 
branded as a heretic or idolater. But there are still 
two perilous shoals to be avoided. One is the danger 
of the treasures falling into the hands of a certain 
Knight of the Order at Venice, who may detain them 
longer than is convenient ; the other, that they should 
be sent to Milan. For, although Monseigneur de 
Chaumont, being of French race and a native of a 
barbarous country, cares httle for such things — unless, 
indeed, it were a head of Father Bacchus, the god of 
wine I — there are many good antiquaries in Milan 
who know the true value of these precious fragments. 
So he takes advantage of the visit of a Parma 
traveller, who is on his way home, to send Isabella 
two heads of Amazons from the newly discovered 
Tomb at Hahcarnassus, erected, it is said, by Arte- 
misia in honour of her husband Mausolus, as well 
as a marble statuette — without head or limbs, alas ! 
but with the finest draperies — from the Isle of 
Naxos. "And although it is sadly mutilated," he 
adds, " I beg Your Signory to take it with a glad 
heart and serene brow, for I think it will not dis- 
please Andrea Mantegna nor my own Zoan Cristo- 
foro, if these two are still present in human form 
among us." But when Fra Sabba's letter {ex clara 
R/wdo) was written, on the 16th of April 1507, 
Cristoforo had already gone to Rome, and Messer 
Andi-ea had been dead many months. 

These things, "contrary to their custom," as 
Sabba remarks, reached their destination safely, and 
brought him a grateful letter from the Marchesa, 



" that happy Madonna who shines as the sun among 
the smaller stars." Unluckily, his search for antiques 
was interrupted by a serious illness, and when he was 
about to land at Halicarnassus, after a two months' 
cruise, in the depth of winter, the sudden appearance 
of twenty armed Turkish galleys forced him to beat 
a retreat, without ever seeing the noble Tomb which 
was the object of his journey. When he suggested 
that the Grand Master should present Isabella with a 
marble sea-god clasping a nymph in his arms, which 
had lately been sent him from Halicarnassus, His 
Reverence repUed, " like a person of little knowledge 
in these matters, that he could not send so insignifi- 
cant a figure to so great a lady, and I dared say no 
more," adds Sabba, "for the least contradiction 
makes him as difficult to handle as a prickly 
broom." Another marble vase, on which Sabba 
also had his eye, was, unluckily, converted by the 
same dignitary into a wine-cooler, so that all he 
could send Isabella that time was a bundle of a 
sweet-scented wood called calamus, "which takes a 
most beautiful polish, and would make a fine lyre or 
viol in the hands of any good instrument maker." 
But in his secret soul, as he tells his dear lady, he 
cherishes a magnificent dream, which, if carried 
out, would give her glorious city a new splendour. 
This is nothing less than the removal to Mantua of 
the noble and celebrated Tomb lately discovered at 
Halicarnassus. He has already spoken to the captain of 
an Italian ship and a Cremona engineer, both of whom 
assure him this could easily be managed, at compara- 
tively small expense. But before this splendid dream 
could be carried into execution, the leave of absence 
arrived, for which Fra Sabba had so long pined 


and he left Rhodes with joy, only regretting that he 
had never seen Artemisia's Mausoleum. 

Before his departure, he obtained the Grand 
Master's leave to send the marble sea-god to Mantua, 
and managed to smuggle a marble head from Chios 
and another fine fragment from Delos among his own 

In July 1508, Fra Sabba reached Rome after his 
three years' exile, and to his great joy was invited to 
enter the service of the Vicar- General of his Order 
in that city. He remained in Rome till 1516, when 
he was appointed Prior of a house of Knights of 
S. John near Faenza. Here he lived till an 
advanced old age, enjoying books and leisure, and 
writing the Eicordi, in which he describes himself as 
" a poor Knight, whose little studio is adorned with a 
head of St. John Baptist by Donatello and a St. 
Jerome in alabaster by a Lombard master, the finest 
I have ever seen, and can also boast several intar- 
siatura pictures by Fra Damiano da Bergamo." ^ 

Here he received visits fi'om Cardinal Bembo and 
many of his old friends, and in 1529 had the honour 
of entertaining His HoUness Pope Clement VII. 
when he came to crown the Emperor Charles V. 
at Bologna. Fra Sabba sent Isabella the antiques 
which he had brought from Rhodes, as soon as he 
landed in Italy, but we never learn if he saw the 
Marchesa again. 

1 Luzio op. cit. ; Peluso in Arch. St. Lomb., 1876, p. 370. 



Isabella's library in the Grotta — Her relations with Aldo Manuzio — 
Letters of Lorenzo da Pa via and of Aldo — The Aldine editions 
of classics — Isabella's letters to Aldo — He is thrown into prison 
on Mantuan territory — Letter of the Emperor Maximilian to 
Isabella on his behalf — Death of Aldo Manuzio — Lorenzo 
da Pavia's last letters to Isabella — His journey to Rome and 

Besides paintings, antiques, and medals, the Grotta 
of the Corte Vecchia contained the choicest treasures of 
Isabella d'Este's library, safely kept on shelves under 
lock and key. Here were placed those rare manuscripts 
of Greek and Latin authors which she loved to col- 
lect, the French and Spanish romances in which she 
took so much pleasure, and the richly illuminated and 
sumptuously bound volumes of original poems pre- 
sented to her by hving writers, and dedicated to her 
in flowery epistles. 

" Ask Maddalena for the key of the Grotta," she 
wrote from Milan, in the summer of 1514, to Gian 
Giacomo Calandra, " and take the Car cere d'Amore ^ 
out of my hbrary and send it to me here." Again, 
two years earUer, her friend the Venetian patrician. 
Carlo Francesco Valerio, wrote to beg for the Joan of 
the Marchesa's two editions of the Cento Novclle, one 
of which he had seen in the Grotta, the other in M. 
Giacomo Calandra's Camerino." 

1 The Spanish romance, La Carcel d'Amor, by Diego di San Pedro. 
8 Yriarte, Gazette d. B. Arts, 1895. 


[Pholo, rrcin!, Muiitii, 


[Tojacc p. 20, vol. u. 


Calandra, one of the most cultivated among the 
younger Mantuan scholars, acted as librarian for the 
Marchesa, and afterwards succeeded his father in the 
office of Castellan. In 1516, he wrote to her in 
great concern, saying that while he was ill in bed the 
lock of the Hbrary had been broken open, and several 
volumes taken out of the shelves, while the others 
were left in such confusion that it was difficult to 
open the doors without hurting the books.^ 

In July 1501, Isabella wrote to her agent Trotti : 
" We wish to have the works of all the best authors 
to adorn our studio." This same year she was able to 
enrich her collection with the first of those famous 
editions of classical authors that were being printed at 
Venice by Aldo Manuzio. 

On the 8th of July 1501, she wrote to Lorenzo to 
inquire about the Virgil which was the first of the 
series, and had appeared in April : " Some Virgils 
printed in a small size, with minute and almost itahc 
type, have lately been brought here for sale, and 
please me very much. I hear that the works of 
Petrarch and Ovid are also to be published, and 
should like to have them both in parchment." 

A fortnight later, Lorenzo sent his mistress the 
following letter in reply : — 

" Most illustrious Madonna, — I saw by your last 
letter that you wished me to send you the three 
books, i.e. Virgil, Petrarch, and Ovid, in parchment, 
and so I went at once to the house of Maestro Aldo, 
who prints these books in a small form and in the 
finest italic type that you ever saw. It is he who 
printed the fiist Greek books, and he is a very dear 
friend of mine. At present only Virgil is to be 

1 Luzio e Renier in Giorn. St. d. Lett., xxxiii. 5. 


had in parchment, so I send it you herewith. The 
Petrarch is not yet finished, but they tell me it will 
be ready in about ten days. As yet they have only 
printed about fifteen copies on this paper, and have 
already bound them. This has been owing to the 
dearth of parchment, as they have great difficulty in 
obtaining the small amount required for the Virgils 
as well as for the Petrarchs. But Your Signoria shall 
have Petrarch, which is not yet bound. M. Aldo 
has promised me to choose a copy for you leaf by 
leaf, so that yours shall be the finest of all, and the 
said Maestro will do this all the more gladly because 
he has been helped in his work by M. Pietro Bembo, 
who is most devoted to Your Signoria. He it is 
who has had these poems printed from a manuscript 
which Petrarch wrote with his own hand, and which 
I also have held in my hand. It belongs to a Paduan, 
and is so precious that they have printed the book 
letter by letter, after the original, with the greatest 
possible care. As soon as it is finished I will send it 
to you, as they wish yours to be the first that appears, 
and hold this to be of good omen, and feel sure the 
work will obtain a great success since Your Excellency 
will have had the first copy. After the Petrarch, 
Dante will be printed, in the same shape and type, 
and after Dante, Ovid, which I think they will begin 
towards the end of September, but the Dante in 
about twenty days ; and I beg you to seek for some 
goat-skin paper, which should be clear and very white 
and fine and even, not thick in one place and thin in 
another, because formerly I have seen beautiful paper 
in Mantua. The great difficulty is to find good paper 
for the Dante and Ovid. They will be of the same 
size as the Petrarch, with the slieet whole. Your 


Highness may trust me to do my utinost. I mean 
you to have something as rare and incomparable as 
Your Most Excellent Highness herself. And nothing 
in the world pleases me more than to obey your 
orders, remembering the kindness which you have 
ever shown me. The Virgil and Petrarch, they say, 
will cost no less than 3 ducats apiece. — Your servant, 
Lorenzo da Pa via." ^ Venice, July 26, 1501. 

The Marchesa was delighted to think of the 
honour that Maestro Aldo was about to pay her, 
and wrote back to say she was eagerly expecting the 
Virgil, which, however, her servant Franceschino had 
been unable to bring, and promised to send to Parma 
for the fine carta pecora, of which there was none in 
Mantua. True to his word, on the 3rd of August 
Lorenzo sent his mistress the promised Petrarch, 
unbound, saying he has no doubt she will prefer to 
cover it with some precious material and adorn it 
with silver clasps. But he has lately seen, in the 
hands of a merchant who has just arrived from 
Flanders, the finest binding and silver clasps in the 
world, and has obtained a promise from him that he 
will take a Virgil and Petrarch with him to Flanders 
to be bound in the same fashion and return them 
before Christmas. The Marchesa eagerly accepted 
the merchant's offer, and her two copies of Petrarch 
were sent to be bound in Flanders. But, instead of 
sending them back at Christmas, the Flemish binder 
kept them till Whitsuntide, and Lorenzo confessed 
that he was not altogether satisfied with the suc- 
cess of his experiment. " I send Your Excellency 

^ Baschet, Aide Manuce ; A. F. Didot, Aide Manuce et I'Hellen- 
isme a Venise, p. 170; also A. Luzio in Giorn. St. d. Lett., vol. 
xxxiii. p. 18, for the correct text. 


the two Petrarchs which were bound in Flanders. 
They might, it seems to me, have been better finished, 
but, to say the truth, I am in the habit of thinking 
that a thing for you is never so perfect but that it 
might be still more so." But, whatever Isabella 
thought of the binding, she was charmed with the 
books themselves. These exquisite editions, printed 
in handy httle volumes on the finest of paper, exactly 
suited her fine taste. In November 1502, she ordered 
another Petrarch and Dante, and by degrees the 
whole series issued by the Aldine press found their 
way into her library. A beautiful little copy of the 
Virgil printed in July 1501, bound in dark green and 
gold morocco, with illuminated capitals and margins, 
is still preserved in the British Museum. It belonged 
to Isabella's second son. Cardinal Ercole Gonzaga, 
and bears the date 1527, in his own handwriting. 

In 1503, the great printer himself wrote straight 
to Isabella, begging her to intercede with her husband 
for a certain Federico Ceresara, a Mantuan by birth, 
who had killed his own brother in a fit of rage, and 
had been in prison for this crime during two years, to 
the great distress of the unhappy mother, who was 
thus deprived of both her sons. The request was 
granted, and, partly out of gratitude to the Marchesa, 
but still more in token of his admiration for her love 
of letters, Aldo sent her a new volume which he 
published in July 1504, with the following epistle in 
elegant Latin : — 

"Aldus to Isabella, Princess of Mantua, sends 
greeting. .During these last days I received a visit 
from Battista Scalona [the Marquis's secretary, whom 
Isabella had sent to Venice, and charged to bring back 
Bellini's Presepio with him] — a youth distinguished 


by his rare learning. As we conversed together, we 
spoke of you, and naturally dwelt on the favour shown 
to all scholars and men of excellence by Your Majesty, 
who are yourself as learned as you are saintly and 
virtuous. My respect and admiration for you is now 
even greater than it was before, and I desire, as soon 
as possible, to render you a further act of homage 
by dedicating one of my books to Your Majesty. 
Meanwhile, allow me to send you as a gift the Life 
of Apollonius of Tyana, with the Tract of Eusebius 
against Hierocles in Greek and Latin, and the verses 
of Gregory Nazianzen in a Latin translation, which 
have been lately published by me and are not un- 
worthy to be read by you, hoping they will please 
Your Majesty. And, although I know they are not 
worthy to come into your divine hands in their 
present unadorned condition, I send them none the 
less, encouraged by my dear Scalona and trusting to 
your indulgence, since, as you are aware, those who 
have no incense to offer on the altar of the Gods are 
allowed to bring milk, salt, and flour. They will at 
least be a token of my respect for Your Majesty."^ 

On the 16th of May 1505, Isabella begged Aldo 
to send her copies of all the Latin books which he 
had printed in this small edition, excepting the Virgil, 
which she had already. " And when you print fresh 
volumes," she adds, " do not forget to print some on 
fine paper for us, and that as quickly as possible. 
Please let us know the price, and we will send you 
the money at once." 

Aldo replied on the 23rd : " I have received 
Your Excellency's letter saying that you wish to 
have all my little books on vellum. At present I 

^ Baschet, Aide Manuce. 


only have these: Martial, Catullus, Tibullus, Pro- 
peilius, unbound, and Horace, with Juvenal and 
Pcrsius, bound and illuminated. If Your Highness 
pleases, I will send you these immediately. As to 
the future, I will obey Your Illustrious Highness's 
commands." ^ 

But the insatiable Marchioness still asked for 
more. On the 27th she wrote again : " Messer 
Aldo, — You would give us singular pleasure if you 
would send us a copy of all your little editions 
on vellum, not bound, like the Petrarch, which is 
exceptionally fine ; and if they suit us, we will send 
you the money, and, if not, return them at once. If 
you will do this, we should be infinitely obhged. 
Remember, whenever you print any more works in 
this form, always to print one for us on vellum, as 
we have written before." 

On the 9th of June, Aldo sent Isabella all the 
books which he had in stock printed on vellum, by 
the hands of a kinsman of his wife, Giovanni d'Asola, 
with a note informing her of their different prices. 
" Martial, Catullus, Tibullus, Propertius, and Lucan un- 
bound ; Horace, Juvenal, and Persius bound together, 
with illuminated capitals. This last volume is priced 
at 6 ducats, or at least 4." Martial, " 4 ducats, or at 
least 3." Catullus, Tibullus, Propertius, "3 ducats, 
or at least 2j " ; and Lucan, " 3 ducats, or at least 2^." 
But, much as Isabella liked the books, she did not 
choose to give the price which Aldo asked. She 
sent them back on the 30th of June, with the follow- 
ing curt note : — 

" M. Aldo, — The four volumes on vellum which 
you have sent us, are pronounced by every one who 

1 D'Arco, Arch. St. It., App. ii. 312. 


has seen them, to be twice as dear as they ought to 
be. We have given them back to your messenger, 
who does not deny the truth of this, but excuses 
you, saying that your partners will not take less. 
All the same, when you print any more, at a fair 
price, and on finer paper, with more careful correc- 
tions, we shall be glad to see them, and hope still 
to be served by you."^ 

A fortnight later a strange adventure befell the 
great printer on Mantuan territory. On the 17th of 
July 1506, as he and Federico Ceresara were return- 
ing from Milan, where Aldo had been examining 
certain manuscripts before he undertook the publica- 
tion of Virgil's smaller poems, they were arrested at 
Castelromano on the Mantuan frontier. Federico 
fled, and managed to cross a river near Asola on 
foot, leaving his horse and a bag containing Aldo's 
clothes and precious manuscripts in the hands of the 
Mantuan sentries.^ Two thieves had, it appears, 
lately escaped from prison, and the soldiers took 
Aldo and his companion for the missing criminals. 
In vain the scholar protested that he was Aldo 
Romano, the printer of Venice, a person well known 
both to the Marquis and Marchioness of Mantua, and 
honoured by the favour of the Emperor Maximilian. 
He was thrown into a damp and pestilential 
dungeon, where he languished during four days, 
unable to discover the reason of his arrest, when, as 
he remarked in the letter which he addressed to the 
Marquis, " he ought rather to have been protected on 
Mantuan territory than ill-treated, since he was en- 

^ A. Baschet, Aide Manuce ; A. F, Didot, Aide Manuce et 
FHellenisme a Venise, pp. 275, 276. 

2 Luzio in Giom. St. Lett. It., vi. 276. 


gaged in seeking to bring new glory to the Mantuan 
poet, Virgil." lUit the officers of justice were deaf to 
his appeals, and it needed the powerful intercession of 
the Venetian Governor of Asola, of the French Vice- 
Chancellor of Milan, and of Aldo's old pupil and patron, 
Alberto Pio of Carpi, who was fortunately at Mantua 
that week, before his release could be finally effected. 
On the 25th of July, having at length recovered 
his freedom, he addressed a reproachful letter to the 
Marquis, saying : '* If I had remained two days more 
in the horrid place where I was shut up, I must have 
died. But, thank God, I see in this grievous injury 
a punishment for my old sins against Heaven." The 
Marquis, to do him justice, sent the printer a full 
and ample apology for the unfortunate mistake which 
so nearly cost the great scholar his life, and restored 
Aldo's manuscripts and clothes, with renewed assur- 
ances of his favour. Isabella was at Sacchetta at the 
time, owing to the plague, and probably never heard 
of Aldo's imprisonment until he was set at liberty. 
But when, four years later, the wars of the League 
of Cambray desolated Venetian territory, and forced 
Aldo to suspend his works, she proved a good friend 
to him, and was able to restore his wife's property at 
Asola, which had been confiscated by the Mantuan 
authorities. On this occasion, the Emperor Maxi- 
milian addressed a Latin letter to the Marchesa, who 
was governing Mantua during her husband's imprison- 
ment at Venice, recommending " our dear and faithful 
servant, Aldo Roip .no," to her favourable notice, and 
expressing his conviction that the gi-eat printer was 
equally beloved by her on account of the splendid 
services which he has rendered to letters.^ 

^ A. F. Didot, op. cit. 


Messer Aldo died in 1515. His friend Lorenzo 
da Pavia only survived him two years, and kept up 
an active correspondence with Isabella to the end of 
his life. In March 1514, he wrote to tell her of the 
fine clavichord which he had just finished for Pope 
Leo X., and which he was about to take to Rome 

" Most illustrious Madonna, — Your Highness 
must forgive me if your instrument is not yet ready, 
but I have been very busy and have had much anxiety. 
However, I am still alive, and know my illustrious 
lady wiU be glad to hear that I have finished the 
large and splendid clavichord which was ordered by 
Pope Leo, and is eagerly desired by His Holiness. 
It is ready now, and I hope after Easter to go to 
Rome with the said instrument. It really is the 
finest instrument that I have ever made. Here 
indeed is true harmony ! What a joy it would be if 
only you could hear it ! I enclose a copy of certain 
verses which are carved in Roman letters on the said 
instrument. One set was composed by Navagero, 
the other by Zoan Aurelio, but I have chosen those of 
Navagero, as they seem to me the most appropriate. 
When I am in Rome, I will do my best to find some 
fine antiques for Your Highness." ^ 

Lorenzo's journey to Rome finally took place in 
June. Before his departure he wrote to tell the 
Marchesa that he was intending to visit her daughter, 
Leonora, the young Duchess of Urbino, on the way, 
and congratulated her on the birth of her grandson, 
which had taken place on the 2nd of April.^ 

" In a few days' time I hope to go to Rome, and 

1 Dr. Carlo dell'Acqua, Lorenzo Gusnasco da Pavia, p. 26. 

2 LitU Famiglie ; Dennistoun. " Dukes of Urbino," vol. iii. 82. 


intend to stop at Urbino and pay my respects to 
our illustrious Duchess. I rejoice sincerely with 
Your Highness over the birth of her son, and her 
good health. And I am taking her several fine 
things, as well as those which you ordered. Fare- 
well. — Your Lorenzo of Pa via." June 1514. 

We do not hear whether Lorenzo was still in 
Rome that autumn when the Marchesa paid her first 
visit to the Eternal City, but no doubt she saw the 
wonderful instrument which he had made for her old 
friend, Pope Leo X. Two years afterwards we learn 
from a little note which the Marchesa addressed 
during a brief absence from home to the Neapolitan 
musician, Andrea Cossa, that this faithful servant and 
true artist had passed away. 

"We thank you very much for sending us the 
embroidered cap, which has reached us safely, and 
also for giving us certain information of the death 
of Messer Lorenzo. The news had already reached 
Mantua, but we did not yet know if the report 
were true." ^ Vegliana, May 4, 1517. 

^ C. deir Acqua, op. cii. 



War of the League of Cambray — Defeat of the Venetians at 
Vaila — Capture of the Marquis of Mantua near Legnago 
— His imprisonment at Venice — Isabella administers the 
Government — Her efforts to obtain Francesco's release — 
Leonora goes to Urbino — Presents of Isabella to the Bishop 
of Gurk and Queen of France — The Pope grants absolution 
to Venice and obtains the release of Francesco Gonzaga — 
Federico sent as hostage to Rome — His life at the Vatican 
and visits to Bologna and Urbino. 

On the 10th of December 1508, the secret treaty 
known as the League of Cambray was concluded 
between Pope JuHus II., the Emperor, Louis XII., 
the Duke of Ferrara, and the Marquis of Mantua. 
The express object of the allies, as stated in the 
treaty between these powers, was to resist the insati- 
able ambition of Venice, and compel the Signory to 
restore their conquests in Romagna and Lombardy. 
Ever since his accession, Julius II. had openly de- 
clared that he meant to cut the claws of the Lion 
of St. Mark, and now the time for action was ripe. 
In April 1509, the French army crossed the frontier, 
and at the same time the papal troops, under the 
Duke of Urbino, invaded Romagna. 

On the 14th of May, the Venetians were com- 
pletely defeated on the plains of Ghiar' Adda or 
Vaila, a day as disastrous to the Republic, in the 
words of contemporary writers, as the battle of 


Cannse. The power of the Republic was crushed 
at a single blow. " In one day," says MachiaveUi, 
" the Venetians lost all that they had acquired with 
so much labour in 800 years." ^ Not only were they 
compelled to surrender their conquests in Romagna, 
but all the Venetian towns on the mainland, even 
the strongly fortified cities of Verona, Vicenza, and 
Padua, opened their gates to the victors. 

Meanwhile the Mantuan territory was overrun by 
ill-disciplined French troops, whom Francesco Gon- 
zaga found more tiresome than open enemies. And 
Isabella, writing to thank him for a present of 
partridges, on the 22nd of June, remarked, laugh- 
ingly, that even this heat cannot make her thin, 
but that, if she suffered as much fatigue and worry 
as he had done from these French rascals {poltroni 
di francesi), perhaps she would no longer be so 
plump. A month afterwards her high spirits re- 
ceived a sudden check. On the 17th of July, the 
Venetians succeeded in recovering Padua, and on 
the 9th of August, Francesco Gonzaga was himself 
surprised and taken prisoner at I sola della Scala, 
a village near Legnago, on the Adige. He was in 
the act of taking a company of horse to join the 
imperial artillery in the siege of Padua, and was 
spending the night in perfect security at Isola, when 
a Venetian force, commanded by Luca Malvezzi, 
secretly sun*ounded the farm-house where he slept. 
As soon as the alarm was given, the Marquis 
escaped through a back door, but was found by 
four peasants hiding in a field of maize and taken 
prisoner, first to Legnago, and afterwards to Venice. 
The joy of the captors was great, especially as 

^ Discorsi, iii. 31. 


Francesco's camp, with aU his silver plate, his sump- 
tuous hangings and pavilions, his rich furniture 
and splendid suits of armour, fell into their hands, 
together with "some of the finest horses in the 
world." ^ Both in Rome and Mantua the consterna- 
tion was great. The choleric old Pope flung his 
cap on the ground, and cursed St. Peter aloud. 
The loyal subjects of the Marquis were filled with 
a sense of dismay, approaching to panic, when they 
heard that their lord had been borne by his captors in 
triumph to Venice, and imprisoned in the strong tower 
of the Ducal Palace, known as the Torresella, which 
was provided with new bolts and bars for the occasion.^ 
But Isabella's courage and fortitude rose to the oc- 
casion. In the first pang of her grief she sought the 
prayers of the spiritual advisers in whom she most 
relied — Prior Francesco Silvestri, and her Carmelite 
friends in Mantua. And she also asked the help 
and advice of an old Ferrarese lawyer, Prisciani, 
whom she had known from childhood, and who was 
learned in the arts of astrology. Like all her con- 
temporaries, Isabella had a superstitious behef in 
astrology, and ordered her actions and movements 
by the courses of the stars. Her horoscope had 
been cast by a learned astrologer when she visited 
Urbino in 1494, and she had been especially told 
not to mount a horse, a warning which she obeyed 
for some time, until her love of riding proved too 
strong for her good intentions. She still clung, 
however, to certain deeply rooted prejudices, con- 
sulted astrologers as to the future, and refused to 
set out on a journey or begin an undertaking at 

* Luigi da Porto, Lettere storiche, p. 106. 
2 Lorenzi, Monumenti per la storia d. Pal. ducale, p. 150. 


certain conjunctions of the moon and stars. Now 
in her distress she implored the help of the wise 
old philosopher, who replied in a long letter, in 
which Christian faith and superstitious trust in 
occult powers are curiously blended. 

He begins by describing how, as he lay awake 
at night grieving for her sorrows, a sudden voice 
told him where to turn for help. He got up, lighted 
his candle, and, opening his books, discovered that 
a remarkable and long-expected conjunction between 
the star of Jove and the Dragon's head would take 
place on Saturday evening, the 18th of August, at 
three minutes before half-past seven. *' At that pre- 
cise moment," he continues, " kneel down, and, with 
hands clasped and eyes raised to heaven, repeat the 
Confiteor^ and ask God earnestly to restore your 
most dear husband safe and well to your side. 
Repeat this prayer three times, and in a short time 
the blessing you seek will be granted. And your 
httle sons and daughters might at the same time 
kneel down and ask for the same grace, so that 
your prayers may be heard." ^ August 15, 1509. 

After this, Isabella dried her tears and faced 
this new emergency with her wonted energy and 
presence of mind. She administered public affairs, 
made preparations for the defence of the realm, and 
exerted all her powers of diplomacy to obtain her 
husband's release. She sent envoys, not only to 
Louis XII. and MaximiUan, but even to the Sultan, 
who readily promised to use his influence with the 
Doge on Francesco's behalf. But her chief trust 
was placed in the Pope, and since the best means 
of enlisting His Holiness's efforts in her cause was 

1 Luzio in Giorn. St. d. Lett., 1900, 


to hasten the union of her daughter Leonora with 
his nephew, the marriage was fixed to take place 
in the following autumn. In November Duchess 
Elisabetta herself came to Mantua to fetch the bride, 
and on the 4th of December Isabella wrote to her 
old friend Jacopo d'Atri, whom she had sent to plead 
her husband's cause at the French court : " Here 
we have been entertaining the Duchess of Urbino 
and a large and honourable company at great ex- 
pense, but very gladly. In two or three days she 
will take back our young Duchess, whom we send 
with her very willingly, hoping that His Hohness 
will now show us still greater favour, and this all the 
more since we hear that His Beatitude desires her 
and the Duke to come to Rome for the pontifical 
celebration of their marriage. . . . His Holiness has 
sent a most beautiful htter for the bride, covered 
with cloth of silver and gold cords, and borne by 
two handsome pages in liveries to match, as well 
as a fine dapple-grey horse with rich trappings. The 
Duke was on his way here incognito to pay us a 
visit, but when he reached Carpi, he was summoned 
back in haste by a papal brief, ordering him to lead 
the troops of the League against Ravenna." ^ 

On the 9th of December, the wedding-party set 
out on their journey, which was attended with even 
more discomforts and adventures than usual. First 
of aU, they left Mantua in so dense a fog that 
Isabella and her train of courtiers were unable to 
accompany them beyond the gates, and before they 
reached their first halting-place, the villa of Gonzaga, 
they lost their way and wandered for hours in the 
dark. " The astrologer who fixed the time of their 

^ I.uzio e Renier, Mantova e Urbino, p. 190, &c. 


departure," remarked Isabella in a letter to Rome, 
" certainly made a false calculation I But we must 
hope the rest of their journey will prove more 
prosperous." This was hardly the case. After being 
entertained with banquets and dances at Modena and 
Bologna, where the Duchesses lodged in the palace 
of the Papal Legate, Cardinal Alidosi, they rode on 
to Faenza, and were nearly drowned in crossing a 
mountain torrent. So sudden was the rise of the 
water and so strong the stream that Picenardi had 
to swim for his Ufe. In a lively letter to the 
Marchesa he describes how, looking round, he saw 
the chariot containing two of Leonora's ladies and 
their luggage floating down the stream, both the oxen 
harnessed to the car being lifted off their feet by the 
force of the current I "If you could have seen the 
faces of Madonna Ginevra and Pasina," he adds, " you 
would have died of laughing I " At length, after long 
days of weary travelling over bad roads in torrents of 
rain, Urbino was safely reached. The young Duke 
himself rode out to meet them, and kissed his beau- 
tiful Duchess, and embraced his "poor lame aunt," 
as EUsabetta called herself. She was suffering from 
an acute attack of gout, and after embracing her 
nephew, gladly returned to her litter. " Then the 
Duke and his bride," continues Picenardi, "rode 
through the fine streets of Urbino, and we aU 
escorted the new Duchess to her rooms in the 
palace. . . . The Duchess has, indeed, made a 
beautiful entry. AU the same, nothing would please 
the Duke but she must make another to-day. This 
the Duchess, your sister, would not allow, upon 
which the Duke flew into a rage, and said he 
would go away ; but our Madonna told him to be 


reasonable, and not to behave like a Turk, with other 
wise words, so that he said no more and remained 
content. Then Messer Cesare Gonzaga and Count 
Lodovico da Canossa arrived from Rome with the 
papal brief, and every one was happy." ^ 

The new Duchess made an excellent impression 
on the whole court, as her mother's numerous friends 
hastened to assure her. Amongst others, the witty 
and accomplished Florentine, Bernardo Dovizi of 
Bibbiena, who was at Urbino with his master. 
Cardinal Medici, addressed a long letter to the 
Marchesa, signing himself by his favourite nickname 
of // Mocdcone (the dolt or fool), and expressing his 
great regret that he had been hindered by illness 
from accepting Isabella's invitation to Mantua. 
The Duchess, he declared with pretended indigna- 
tion, had evidently whispered false words into the 
Marchesa's ears, and made her believe that his 
malady was feigned. " How in the world Her 
Excellency's lips could fashion so great a lie, or 
drop such poison into your small and delicate 
ears, I know not 1 If I was not really ill, may 
God make me fall ill again I Could I have had 
more honourable company or a pleasanter journey, 
or have arrived in a place which I desire to see 
more passionately?" After many pages in the 
same strain, the witty secretary proceeds to speak 
in the warmest terms of the youthful princess, 
whose charms were the talk of the court. " Her 
manners and bearing are perfect. Every one says 
the same . . . principally Madonna Emilia, whose 
judgment you will value on account of her clever- 
ness and goodness. Madonna is delighted with her. 

^ Luzio e Renier, op. cit., p. 195. 


but in this case great love may very well make 
her blind. What more shall I say? In Madonna 
Leonora we see all her lady mother." ^ 

These letters from old friends were gratifying, 
for the expenses of the wedding and the large dowry 
upon which the Pope and Francesco Maria's mother 
had insisted when the original contract was drawn 
up in Duke Guidobaldo's lifetime, were a heavy 
strain on the reduced finances of Mantua. And in 
her anxiety to gratify the Pope and his kinsfolk, 
Isabella had provided her daughter with clothes and 
jewels of great value, and had, as she took care to 
inform her Roman agent Brognolo, considerably ex- 
ceeded the amount specified in the contract. 

But neither for lack of money nor any other 
cause did she relax her efforts to obtain her 
husband's release. Since the Marquis found the 
strict confinement in which he was kept at Venice 
very tedious, Isabella sent his favourite tenor Mar- 
chetto, the lute-player Angelo Testagrossa, and 
several other court singers to beguile his lonely 
hours. But they were only allowed to visit him 
on rare occasions, and the severity of the Venetian 
authorities, and the great expense to which they 
were put, constrained the Marchesa to recall them 
in January. By Francesco's especial wish, she sent 
him a copy of her own portrait by Costa, as well 
as one of his newly-married daughter, which he 
presented after his release to his friend the Senator 
Alvise Marcello, in whose palace they were seen 
fifteen years later by Marc Antonio Michiel. At the 
same time she made costly presents to influential per- 
sonages at the French and German courts, in the 

* Luzio e Renier, op. cit., p. 197. 


hope of furthering her object. She desired her 
secretary, Scaloiui, to present Matthiius T^ang, Bishop 
of Gurk, the all-powerful imperial legate, with a 
fine silver vase, enamelled with scenes from the life 
of Romulus ; ^ and she sent a Madonna by Costa as 
a gift to the Queen of France. This picture had 
been ordered by the Marquis a year before, and the 
painter had begged Isabella to give him the benefit 
of her advice and opinion on the work before it 
finally left his shop. Now she wrote to Jacopo 
d'Atri, on the 13th of January 1510, telling him 
that she was glad of this occasion to offer a 
Madonna to our great Queen, and saying that she 
had chosen this Madonna by Costa, which was as 
fine as any painting in the world. On the 24th 
the precious picture, " the same," she writes, " which 
Monseigneur de Tyande admired in our Camerino," 
after being retouched by the painter, was given to 
Jacopo Soardino to take to France, together with 
letters to Jacopo d'Atri, desiring him to lose no 
opportunity of impressing Isabella's great wish for 
her husband's deliverance on the Queen.^ These 
letters crossed despatches from the ambassador, in- 
forming her that Louis was shortly coming to 
Milan, and reporting a curious conversation which 
had been overheard between the King and Queen. 

Anne of Brittany, it seems, at one time thought 
seriously of accompanying the King to Italy, and 
made extensive preparations for the journey, which 
was afterwards abandoned. " The wise King," wrote 
Jacopo d'Atri to the Marchesa, " warned her frankly 
that she would find a great contrast between her own 

* Luzio, Federico, p. 6. 

2 Yriarte, Gazette d. B. Arts, I896; Gruyer, op. cit., ii. 211 


appearance and that of our ladies, and that she must 
exert herself if she would compare with you, telling 
her that Your Excellency in the first instance, and 
after you, the Duchess of Ferrara and many others, 
would prove dangerous rivals, while, if she visited 
another part of Italy, the sight of the new bride, your 
daughter, would be enough to crush her to the ground, 
so highly does His Most Christian Majesty esteem 
Madonna Leonora's incomparable beauty, prudence, 
and virtue I Since this conversation the most wise 
Queen, who says little herself — which is in itself a 
great proof of her wisdom — has been convinced that 
she cannot rival our Italian princesses, and has 
decided to take with her four noble ladies : the 
Marchesa di Monferrato — whom she calls French — 
Madame de Nevers, Madame de Longueville, and 
a lady of Brittany, who are all beautiful and highly 
esteemed. She herself intends to wear black or tan 
cloth, and no fine robes, so as not to enter into rivalry 
with you, feeling sure that the least of you would 
surpass her in this respect. Which, in my opinion, 
will not be the case, for if she comes, as she wishes 
extremely to do, she will appear in all her pomp and 
glory, and make herself known as the Queen, not 
only of France, but of the whole universe. I do not 
think that she will make any show of brocade or fine 
clothes, but her foot-guards will amaze all eyes, and 
she herself, who is so glorious in soul, will show you 
things which have never yet been imagined either 
in France or Italy, but which she has the means to 
do if she chooses. And of jewels also she has her 
share. But I cannot help saying that it would be 
well if the caps and low bodices, which are now 
fashionable in Italy, were as decent as they are 


here. These caps, which make women look like 
boys, and this fashion of laying the breast bare, will 
never please foreigners, and if those French who 
have been in Italy praise them, they only do so 
out of flattery. I have not tried to deny this, 
because, after all, honesty is the best policy. So 
prepare yourself, dear Madonna, if Her Majesty 
comes, to do honour to the Latin name."^ 

Isabella, on her part, expressed great delight to 
hear of His Christian Majesty's intention to visit 
Italy, and confidently expected the King's presence 
at Milan would lead to the release of her husband, 
" even," she adds, "if it should be necessary to have 
recourse to arms." In a postscript she thanked 
D'Atri for the portrait of the court-jester Triboulet, 
and renews her request for a French vocabulary, 
evidently desiring to improve her defective French. 
But Louis had grown indifferent to the war against 
Venice, and took no active steps to obtain the release 
of his ally. Both he and the Emperor had learnt to 
look with suspicion on Francesco Gonzaga's intrigues, 
and asked the Marchesa to place her eldest son Fede- 
rico as a hostage in their hands before they approached 
the Republic on behalf of her husband. The mere 
idea of parting from her darling boy filled the poor 
mother's heart with anguish, and when Maximilian 
renewed his proposal, Isabella sent this indignant 
answer to Donato di Preti, her envoy at the imperial 
court : — 

" As to the demand for our dearest first-born son 
Federico, besides being a cruel and almost inhuman 
thing for any one who knows the meaning of a mother's 
love, there are many causes which render it difficult 

^ Luzio, Nuova Antologia, 1896. 


and impossible. Although we are quite sure that his 
person would he well cared for and protected by His 
Majesty, how could we wish him to run the risk of 
this long and difficult journey, putting aside the 
child's tender and delicate age ? And you must know 
what comfort and solace, in his father's present un- 
happy condition, we find in the presence of this dear 
son, the hope and joy of all our people and subjects. 
To deprive us of him would be to deprive us of life 
itself, and of all we count good and precious. If you 
take Federico away you might as well take away our 
life and state at once ; so you may frankly reply, once 
for all, that we will suffer any loss rather than part 
from our son, and this you may take to be our 
deliberate and unchanging resolution."^ 

In these circumstances, Isabella once more turned 
to the Pope for help. The fiery old Pontiff was 
satisfied to feel he had humbled Venice, and lent a 
ready ear to the proposals of peace that were made 
to him by the ambassadors of the Republic. At 
length, on the 24th of February, he solemnly pro- 
nounced the absolution of Venice, while the five 
envoys, clad in scarlet, knelt at his feet for an hour 
in the portico of St. Peter's. After the Miserere had 
been sung, the great doors were thrown open, and 
the Venetians were allowed to enter the church once 
more.'^ Isabella naturally hoped this reconciliation 
would lead to her husband's release, especially as the 
Duke of Urbino had taken his bride to Rome, where 
the Pope welcomed them warmly, and celebrated 
their arrival with a succession of festivities. But 
when Francesco Maria ventured to plead his father- 

^ Luzio, Federico, p. 7. 

2 Bvosch, Fapst Julius U., 288. Pastor/' Hist, ofthe Popes/' vi.Slp. 


in-law's cause, the Pope broke into a furious passion, 
and drove him out of his presence, using the most 
violent language, and reproached him with trjdng to 
play the part of Valentino and to govern the Papacy. 
Leonora tried to approach the Pope, with no better 
result, although he expressed great affection for her, 
and Bembo wrote from Rome in April that " the new 
Duchess was really a most beautiful child, as modest 
and gentle as possible, and already wise beyond her 
years." ^ Only when he was watching the races held 
at carnival from the balcony of S. Pietro, His 
Holiness remarked, with evident satisfaction : " The 
Marquis of Mantua has already won two palUums ; 
I expect he will win this too, and then we shall 
hear the people cry, Mantova ! " upon which the 
two Duchesses of Urbino seized the opportunity to 
implore him to remember the captive Marquis, and 
His Holiness replied kindly : " Have a little patience, 
my children." Presently, the Gonzaga colours were 
seen flying across the course, and the Marquis's horse 
came in the winner, leaving more than forty others 
behind him in the race. A great shout of " Mantova 1 
Mantova ! Turco I Turco ! " rang through the air, to 
the dehght of not only Leonora and EHsabetta, but 
of the old Pope, who laughed heartily, and went home 
in high good humour.^ This incident was duly re- 
ported to the Marchesa by an eye-witness, the Urbino 
scribe, Picenardi, and helped to revive her drooping 
hopes. But when at length JuUus II. desired the 
Venetians to release Francesco, saying that he had 
need of his services, the Signory refused to give him 
their prisoner without receiving some pledge in return, 

^ Lettere, iii, 42. 

2 Luzio, op. cit., p. 58. 


and several months passed before the terms of his 
Uberation could be arranged. At length, in .luly 
1510, the Marquis was set free, and went to Bologna 
to meet the Pope, who appointed him Gonfalionere 
of the Church in the place of Alfonso d'Este. At 
the same time, his ten-year-old son Federico was sent 
to Rome by request of the Doge, to remain in the 
Pope's charge as hostage for his father's good 
behaviour. Since Isabella was forced to part from 
her darling child, there was some consolation in feel- 
ing that in Rome he would be surrounded by friends, 
and grow up in the midst of the most briUiant and 
polished society of the day. As it was, the parting 
cost her many tears, and she desired Matteo IppoUti 
and Stazio Gadio, to whose care she committed him, 
to send her daily accounts, and gave the boy a pre- 
cious relic in the shape of a bracelet containing the 
Gospel of St. John, to keep him from harm on his 
long journey. 

After spending a few days in his father's company 
at Bologna, where Francia, as we know, painted his 
portrait, Federico reached Rome in time to embrace 
his aunt, Duchess EUsabetta, who was leaving for 
Urbino, and sent a kind Httle note to his mother, 
telling her how well the boy looked. By the Pope's 
orders, Federico and his suite were lodged in the 
Belvedere, that villa on the heights commanding an ex- 
quisite view of the Campagna and Alban Hills, which 
Bramante had lately enlarged and connected with the 
Vatican. Here, in the spacious court planned by the 
great architect, planted with orange groves and adorned 
with fountains and ancient sarcophagi, Julius II. now 
placed his unrivalled collection of antique statues, 
including the famous Laocoon and the so-called 


Belvedere Apollo. Here, too, the Hercules described 
by Giorgio da Negroponto, in his letter to Isabella 
d'Este, was erected at the entrance of the court, with 
the inscription Procul este profani above the portico. 

" His Highness," wrote Stazio Gadio, " is lodged 
in the finest rooms of this palace, and takes his meals 
in a most beautiful Loggia overlooking the Cam- 
pagna, which may well be called the Belvedere. He 
spends all day walking about these halls and the 
garden of orange trees and pines, which affords him 
the greatest delight and amusement, but he does not 
neglect his singing, often sending for his master him- 
self, and also repeats the office every day, and vidll no 
doubt attend to his lessons when Maestro Francesco 
VigiHo arrives." This was his tutor, who had been 
left at Bologna ill, and was never able to undertake 
the journey to Rome. 

Isabella, however, was very anxious that the boy's 
education should not be neglected, and in her letters 
continually urged him to practise his singing and 
attend to his studies, as well as devoting time to 
riding and knightly exercises. As a small child, he 
was very backward in reading, but quick at learn- 
ing by heart, and at eight years old could repeat 
long passages of Ovid, and went about the rooms of 
the Castello singing them in his clear treble. But 
if his absence from home interrupted the young 
prince's regular studies, Isabella realised that he was 
learning much in other ways. "You have every 
opportunity of acquiring knowledge and necessary 
experience in Rome," she wrote to the boy ; " you 
can enjoy yourself and at the same time study letters, 
which is far more important for a prince than for 
private individuals." 


She rejoiced especially to hear of the interest which 
he took in classical antiquities, and of his daily visits 
to the Coliseum and Capitol or Forum in company 
with the Aretine, who acted as his guide among the 
ruins of ancient Rome. Of all the antique statues in 
the Belvedere, Federico admired the Laocoon most, 
and sent his mother word that he longed to send to 
her this divine work, and knew how much she would 
admire it. The great Lombard goldsmith Caradosso, 
who was now working for the Pope in Rome, offered 
to make a small relief of the famous group in beaten 
gold for Federico to wear in his cap, and suggested 
that he should send a copy to his mother, but the 
Marchesa regretfully declined the artist's proposal for 
lack of money to reward the old artist as he deserved. 
All the same, she was pleased to hear of her son's 
affectionate remembrance, and thanked him for wish- 
ing to send her the fine antiques which he saw, re- 
marking that this desire and the pleasure which he 
took in these things were sure signs of a good nature 
and gentle spirit.^ 

" The more letters you write and the longer they 
are, telling me of Federico, our son, and of other 
events at court, the more gladly I read them," wrote 
Isabella to the trusted servants who had accompanied 
the boy to Rome, and certainly her injunctions were 
faithfully obeyed. Every day, Stazio or Grossino or 
Ippoliti informed her of the young prince's occupa- 
tions and amusements, of his rides and walks in Rome 
and the Campagna, the clothes he wore, and the visits 
which he paid or received. One day he was shown 
the Papal Treasury in the Castel S. Angelo, with all 
its stores of wealth — the twelve gold images of the 

1 Luzio, op. cit., p. 10. 


Apostles, the papal tiara valued at 80,000 ducats, and 
fine chests filled with crosses, jewelled mitres, and 
vessels of gold and silver. One of the officials placed 
the tiara on Federico's head, upon which he ex- 
claimed : " No I I will not be Pope, but Captain of 
the Church," brandishing a spear in his hand as he 
spoke, to the admiration of the bystanders, who 
called him a young Achilles. Stazio took care to 
tell the Marchesa how much enthusiasm the hand- 
some boy excited as he rode on his richly harnessed 
steed through the streets of Rome, clad in white and 
gold brocade, with a cap of purple velvet on his fair 
curls ; and he praised his liberahty to the singers and 
musicians who came to amuse him in the Vatican 
gardens on fine summer evenings, remarking that he 
was always anxious to give them more than Maestro 
Luca, the doctor, thought fit. But Isabella had no 
wish to encourage these inclinations, and, when she 
heard that Federico had given one of his servants a 
gold-embroidered cap, sharply rebuked IppoUti for 
allowing this, saying it would have been quite another 
thing if Federico had taken it off his own head to 
give it to some courtier as a sign of favour, but that 
servants ought to know better than to ask such things 
of their master, above all of a child. At the same 
time, the Marchesa enjoined Ippoliti to mind his own 
manners and not to reprove the prince or strike him 
in public, but treat him with the respect due to his 

Meanwhile the Pope, whose fury was now turned 
against France and her aUies, declared war on the 
Duke of Ferrara and went to Bologna to join his 
army. There Federico joined him at the end of 
September, and with his bright young face and 


charminsf manners quickly won the old man's heart, 
as the Pope's attendants soon discovered. He be- 
came his constant companion in every expedition, 
and the sight of the child would often pacify him 
in his most violent fits of rage. 

His mother, however, insisted that his lessons 
should be resumed, and he read Virgil and wrote 
Latin themes, while the old Pope took the field 
himself in the depths of a severe winter, and braved 
frost and snow in the trenches of Mirandola. In 
February, Federico was allowed to go to Urbino, 
where he spent a joyous carnival in the company of 
his sister and aunt, and only returned to Rome in 
April. At Urbino he was the pet and plaything of 
the whole court. Suppers and dances, plays and 
masquerades were given every evening in his honour ; 
the days were spent in singing with his sister 
Leonora, and Emilia Pia, Giuliano dei Medici, Pietro 
Bembo, and the violinist Jacopo di San Secondo all 
made much of him for his mother s sake. Here too 
he found a new sister in the person of Margarita 
Gonzaga, an illegitimate daughter of the Marquis, 
who had been born before his marriage, and brought 
up at the court of Urbino by her aunt Elisabetta. 
This fair and charming maiden, who is often men- 
tioned in the Cortegiano as well as in Castiglione and 
Bembo's letters, was betrothed for some years to 
Alberto Pio, the pupil and friend of Aldo Manuzio, 
but the marriage was deferred and ultimately aban- 
doned, owing to the seizure of Carpi, first by the 
French and afterwards by the Duke of Ferrara. The 
next suitor for her hand was the wealthy banker 
Agostino Chigi, whose suit was favourably received by 
the Marquis, and who showed Federico great attention 


during his stay in Rome. But the idea of union with 
a man old enough to have been her father seems to 
have repelled the fair Margarita herself, and Chigi 
wisely refrained from pressing a suit which he saw 
was distasteful, and consoled himself with a wife of 
less exalted degree. Another correspondent of the 
Marchesa, who had seen Federico at Bologna, sent 
her glowing accounts of the boy. This was il hel 
Bernardo, as Bibbiena was called by his friends. 
The Marquis's anger had lately been roused by the 
discovery of some intrigues among his enemies at 
Florence, in which Cardinal Medici was accused of 
taking part, and that prelate charged his secretary to 
assure his compare, the Marchesa, that he was as 
absolutely ignorant of the matter as the Grand Turk 
himself, and remained as ever entirely devoted to 
herself and her family. Bibbiena took occasion of 
this opportunity to tell Isabella that he had been 
supping that evening with her charming son, and was 
surprised to find him quick and clever, as well as 
wise and serious beyond his years. " O Madonna ! " 
he exclaims,^ "you have indeed a rare son, and I 
think you will find more comfort in him than in 
anything else in the world." This accomplished 
courtier, it is plain, knew the best way to Isabella's 

^ Luzio, op. cit., p. 15. 




The Po})e's campaign against Ferrara — Isabella's anxiety to 
restore peace — The Bishop of Gurk at Mantua — Bologna 
captured by the French — The Duke of Urbino murders 
Cardinal Alidosi — Dangerous illness of the Pope — His re- 
covery ascribed to Federico's influence — Death of Isabella's 
pet dog. Aura — The Holy League against France — Victory 
and death of Gaston de Foix at Ravenna — The French driven 
out of Italy — Federico at the Vatican — The Belvedere ApoUo 
and Tiber statue — Visit of the Duke of Ferrara to Rome. 

The release of her husband, and the good accounts 
which she received of her absent son, brought back 
new happiness into Isabella's life. Duchess Elisa- 
betta and her other friends in Rome satisfied her that 
the Pope, in spite of his violent bursts of anger, was 
kindly disposed towards herself and her husband, 
while Federico inspired him with genuine affection. 
But the fury with which Julius II. now attacked her 
brother, and his resolve to conquer Ferrara at all 
costs, caused her fresh distress. She grieved to see 
her husband and son-in-law in command of the forces 
which invaded Alfonso's territory, and used all her 
influence to bring about the restoration of peace. 
The Duke of Urbino succeeded in taking Modena 
and Mirandola, and the Pope satisfied his warlike 
spirit by chmbing the walls on a scaling ladder, and 
entering the city through the breach made by his 
guns. But, in spite of these reverses, Alfonso still 


kept the papal forces at bay, and the advance of a 
large French army, under the veteran Trivulzio, to 
his rehef, compelled the Pope to retire to Bologna. 
A truce was now proclaimed, and, at Isabella's sug- 
gestion, ambassadors from England, France, Spain, 
and Germany met at Mantua to discuss terms of 
peace.^ Here the Emperor's favourite minister, 
Matthaus Lang, Bishop of Gurk, arrived early in 
March, and was splendidly entertained by the 

This haughty German prelate is described by 
Paride Grassi, papal master of ceremonies, as a tall 
and handsome man with long fair hair, and the 
manners of a barbarian.^ He assumed royal airs, 
wore lay dress, and sat down in the Pope's presence 
with his biretta on his head. But he was by no 
means insensible to feminine charms, and before long 
was completely captivated by the clever Marchesa. 
"The illustrious Signora Marchesana," wrote Guido 
Silvestri from Mantua to his master. Cardinal 
d'Este, "is bent on obtaining this peace, although 
that wretch Casola told her the other day, before us 
all, that Cupid's arrows were the only weapons she 
ought to fear, which sent us into fits of laughter I 
So now we are rejoicing at the prospect of peace, 
and hope to see all this ruin and misery end happily 
for the honour of your princely house." ^ And 
Casola himself, a comic poet in the service of 
Cardinal d'Este, sent his master the following strange 
account of an interview between the German bishop 
and the Marchesa. "The other day the Bishop of 

' Pastor, " Hist, of the Popes," vi, .344. 
* Paride Grassi, Diarii, ed. Frati, 260, &c 
^ Luzio e Renier in Giorn. St. d. Lett., 19OO. 


Gnrk paid the Marchesa a visit, when I caused great 
amusement by acting as interpreter, and we all 
laughed till our sides ached." That day poUtics were 
not even mentioned. 'J'he whole talk was of kissing 
and romping, merry songs were sung and witty 
sayings repeated, and all manner of gay fooling went 
on between the German envoys and Isabella and her 
ladies. Unfortunately, when Lang proceeded to 
Bologna, the Pope quite refused to listen to the 
Emperor's proposals of peace, and the bishop left 
suddenly, with no attempt to conceal his disgust. 
Hostilities were immediately resumed, and hardly 
had the Pope left Bologna, than Trivulzio surprised 
and defeated the Duke of Urbino's army and seized 
the town. On the 23rd of May, the Bentivogli 
returned in triumph, Michel Angelo's bronze statue 
of Julius II. was overthrown by the mob, and the 
bronze melted down by Alfonso d'Este and cast into 
a cannon, which he christened La Giulia. The 
next day the papal legate. Cardinal AUdosi, was 
openly stabbed in the streets of Ravenna by the 
Duke of Urbino, who accused him of treacherously 
surrendering Bologna to the foe. A month after- 
wards the old Pope returned to Rome, broken in 
health and worn out with fatigue and anxieties. His 
armies were defeated, his hopes disappointed. Bologna 
was lost, and his favourite had been brutally murdered 
by his own nephew almost before his eyes. But his 
spirit was as high as ever. He checkmated the 
revolted Cardinals, who, supported by the Emperor 
and Louis XII., had summoned a general council at 
Pisa, by himself proclaiming a general council, to 
meet at the Lateran in April 1512. And he entered 
into negotiations with Spain and Venice to form a 


leao^ie in defence of the Church and to drive the 
French out of Italy. 

At the same time he instituted legal proceedings 
against his nephew for the murder of Cardinal 
Alidosi. But his displeasure with the Duke had not 
diminished his affection for Francesco Maria's young 
brother-in-law. The boy was his constant companion, 
both at his meals in the Vatican and in his daily 
walks and rides. When any of the Cardinals came 
to dinner, they sat at other tables in the same hall, 
and Federico alone always ate at the Pope's little 
table. In the evenings they played backgammon 
together, or else went out to supper with Agostino 
Chigi in the gardens of his beautiful new villa in 

During that summer Julius the Second's own 
portrait was painted by Raphael, who introduced 
His Holiness, wearing the beard which he had vowed 
not to shave off till the French were driven out of 
Italy, in his fresco of Pope Gregory IX. giving the 
Decretals, to the right of the window in the Camera 
della Segnatura. And, on the 16th of August, 
Grossino informed Isabella that His Holiness had 
desired Raphael " to introduce Signor Federico's por- 
trait in a room which he is painting in the palace, and 
in which he has drawn His Holiness with his beard, 
from life." In obedience to the Pope's command, 
Raphael introduced the boy's portrait in his great 
fresco of the School of Athens. Federico's head 
appears in the group on the left, behind the Oriental 
philosopher generally called Averroes, while the 
young man in a flowing garment of white and gold 
is said to be his brother-in-law, Francesco Maria. 

Early in August, the Pope took Federico with 


him to Ostia for a few days' hunting, a sport which 
he thoroughly enjoyed, and Grossino describes the 
delight of the old man when he caught a big pheasant : 
"He laughed loudly, told us all proudly what he 
had done, and showed his prey to every one." ^ On 
the Eve of the Assumption he was back in Rome, 
and attended the solemn function at Vespers, in the 
Sistine Chapel, when the central portion of Michel 
Angelo's frescoes on the vault was unveiled." Three 
days afterwards, he fell ill with a severe attack of 
fever, but, with characteristic obstinacy, refused to 
take either the food or medicine ordered by his 
doctors. On the 23rd, the Pope was said to be dying. 
He made his will, and absolved the Duke of Urbino, 
who had hastened to Rome on hearing of his uncle's 
iUness. '* His Holiness is passing away," wrote the 
Venetian ambassador. " Cardinal Medici tells me he 
cannot live through the night. The city is in a tur- 
moil. Every one is taking up arms." ^ Within the 
Vatican all was confusion, the servants had disappeared, 
the rooms were already stripped of their furniture and 
valuables. At this critical moment Federico's in- 
fluence over the Pope was shown in a remarkable 
way, and, according to his attendants, he saved the 
irascible old man's life. " Throw those cursed medi- 
cines out of the window," he cried, and railed at his 
nephew Francesco Maria and the other relatives who 
vainly tried to induce him to take nourishment. 
"Every one was in despair," wrote Stazio Gadio to 
Isabella, " and His Holiness refused to take anything, 
but Signor Federico took a cup of broth with two 

1 Luzio, Federico, p. 21. 

2 Pastor, op. cit. 

* M. Sanuto, Diarii, xii. 482. 


yolks of eggs beaten up in it, and carried it himself to 
the bed of His Holiness, begging him to drink it for 
his sake and that of our Lady of Loreto. . . . And 
it is said in Rome that Pope JuHus will live, thanks 
to Signor Federico." ^ 

Fortunately the iron will and robust constitution 
of the sick man triumphed over the state of prostra- 
tion in which the fever had left him, and he began to 
eat and drink and scold his servants as vigorously as 
usual. Three days later, Gadio wrote that his illness 
was already forgotten.^ 

While all Rome was in confusion, and the news 
of the Pope's death was hourly expected, Isabella 
and her courtiers at Mantua were plunged in grief 
for a pet dog. The Marchesa's darling Aura, which 
never left her side, and which she had loved above all 
others, " the handsomest and most amusing little dog 
that was ever knovim," had been killed by falUng over 
a cliff in flying from the pursuit of a bigger dog. 
" Her Excellency was seen to shed tears at table this 
evening," wrote Calandra to Federico, on the 30th of 
August, " and she cannot speak of Aura without a 
sigh I " The poor little dog was laid in a leaden 
casket, and a fine tomb was prepared for her in a new 
Loggia which the Marchesa had built that autumn. 
Meanwhile, not only at Mantua, but in Rome 
and Ferrara, elegies, epitaphs, sonnets, and epi- 
grams were poured out by the best poets of the 
day, and the tragic fate of the "chaste and noble 
Aura " was lamented in Latin and Italian verses, by 
Tebaldeo and Scalona, Equicola and Celio Calcagnini, 

^ Luzio, op. cit, p. 22. 

2 Sanuto, xii. 482, &c, ; Paride Grassi, D?am; Pastor, op. cit., 
vi. 370, &c. 


and a score of well-known humanists. Federico 
shared his mother's grief for this lost favourite, and 
sent her I.,atin verses in praise of Aura, composed by 
M. Filippo Beroaldo and others, which are preserved 
among a host of similar tributes in the Gonzaga 
archives.^ But graver cares and heavier sorrows soon 
came to darken Isabella s Ufe. Francesco Gonzaga's 
health had suffered from his prolonged captivity and 
the hardships which he had endured in the winter 
campaign against Mirandola, and after this he was com- 
pelled to give up active service. This enforced inac- 
tivity, so contrary to his usual habits, and the incurable 
malady of which he was a victim, affected his whole 
being, and made him weak and irresolute, as well as irrit- 
able and unhappy. During the remainder of his life, 
he depended more and more on his wife, and Isabella 
had a large share in the management of public affairs. 
" Here you may rest assured," wrote Equicola to 
Duke Alfonso, "that everything is referred to 
Madonna, and not a leaf is allowed to stir without 
her knowledge and consent." But the task was by 
no means easy, and she had to steer her way through 
many perilous rocks. On his recovery, Juhus II. 
resumed his former plans with fresh energy, and in 
October 1511, a Holy League between Spain, 
Venice, and the Pope was proclaimed in Rome. 
Towards the end of January 1512, the Spanish and 
papal forces under Raymond de Cardona, Viceroy of 
Naples, besieged Bologna, and the Venetians took 
Brescia. But this town was quickly recovered and 
cruelly sacked by Louis the Twelfth's nephew, Gaston 
de Foix, after which this dashing young soldier 
followed up his success by invading Romagna. On 

1 Luzio in Giom. St. d. Lett, 1899, pp. 44.-4(). 


Easter Day, the two armies met on the plains near 
Ravenna, and after a fiercely contested fight, the 
superiority of Alfonso d'Este's artillery decided the 
fortunes of the day. The army of the League was 
completely defeated, and Cardinal Medici, the Pope's 
legate, two of his generals, Fabrizio Colonna and the 
Marquis of Pescara, were made prisoners, with all their 
guns and banners. But the victorious general, Gaston 
de Foix, fell in the thick of the fight, and there was no 
one left to take his place. The army was demoralised, 
and their leaders soon began to quarrel. Alfonso 
d'Este retired to Ferrara, and the Duke of Urbino, 
who had refused to move hitherto, now advanced 
with fresh forces to his uncle's help, and once more 
received the baton of command, while, at a summons 
from the Holy Father, a strong body of Swiss, under 
Cardinal Schinner, descended on Milan. On the 
3rd of May, only three weeks after the disastrous 
defeat of Ravenna, the Pope, whose indomitable 
courage never quailed, opened the Lateran Council, 
and pronounced the Council of Pisa to be null and 
void. A month later, the Milanese rose in arms, and 
once more threw off the hated yoke of France. The 
French generals withdrew their troops beyond the 
Alps, and Bologna opened its gates to the papal 
legate. The Pope's triumph was complete, and he 
ordered solemn processions and thanksgivings 
throughout the churches for the deliverance of 

Meanwhile, Isabella's precious boy was stiU living 
in the Vatican, and, much as she longed to clasp him 
in her arms, she was too keenly sensible of the im- 
portance of keeping the Pope in good humour to 
urge his return. Since Julius the Second's recovery 



from his illness, Federico's ascendancy with the old 
man had become greater than ever. He accompanied 
His Holiness to the opening of the Lateran Council, 
wearing a sword and cuirass over a suit of white satin 
and gold brocade, embroidered with the Greek letters 
alpha and omega, which his mother had sent him 
for the occasion, and a velvet cap with a gold medal 
of Hercules, by Caradosso. The Pope, Stazio reports, 
was highly amused at the sight of Federico's warlike 
aiTay, and flourished his stick at him, calling out : 
" Are you ready to fight me ? " But, after mass had 
been sung, the young prince escaped from the long ora- 
tions and tedious ceremonies which followed, and was 
conducted by Agostino Chigi to dine at the Convent 
of San Gregorio on the Aventine, and Hsten to the 
Aretine's comic recitations. Many were the splendid 
entertainments which the wealthy merchant gave in 
Federico's honour, feasting him, as Gadio tells 
Isabella, with an abundance of delicate viands, the 
best wines and most excellent melons and fruits in 
the world, and bringing peasant children ' from his 
native Siena to act pastoral plays before him. One 
day he took him to see his alum quarries at Civita- 
vecchia, and spend Sunday at a hunting lodge in 
the forest, where the immense quantities of fish and 
game with which the table was loaded amazed the 
honest Mantuan tutor, who could not understand 
how such luxuries should spring up in these wild 
and desert places. 

On the Feast of St. Sebastian, Federico visited 
the basilica of S. Paolo fuori le Mura, to obtain certain 
indulgences attached to a crucifix before which St. 
Bridget prayed, and which is still preserved in a side- 
chapel. After dining with the Benedictine Fathers, 


he was taken over a ship, manned by galley-slaves 
in the Tiber, by the Genoese captain of the Pope's 
galleys. A salute was fired and trumpets blown in 
honour of his visit, but the sight of the poor gaUey- 
slaves filled him and his companions with compassion. 
" I have never seen galley - slaves before," wrote 
Grossino to the Marchesa, " but I think few persons 
would not be grieved to see these poor men chained 
by the leg and wearing hardly any clothes. They live 
on bread and water, and their skin is blackened with 
exposure. Poor fellows ! I think they must envy the 
dead I Their only pastime is to make ropes when they 
are resting." Yet these unhappy men mingled their 
shouts of joy with the discharge of the artillery, and 
Signor Federico, the secretary hastens to add, gave 
many of them money. Grossino proceeds to relate 
how he visited the Church of St. Sebastian on his 
way back, and saw the marble block with the print of 
our Lord's feet, and how, in spite of a heavy down- 
pour of rain, aU Rome seemed to be there. In the 
same letter, Grossino describes a visit which he paid, 
on the Feast of St. Agnes, to the well-known church 
of that name, two miles without the gates. " This," 
he writes, " is a most ancient sanctuary, as old as any 
in Rome, and full of fine antiques." He describes 
the six carved and finely polished candelabra of white 
stone, the rich marbles of the long flight of stairs 
leading up to the church, and the ancient chapel of 
S. Costanza, containing the porphyry sarcophagus 
which was, he remarks, once sacred to Bacchus, but 
now holds the ashes of a saint. This porphyry tomb, 
adorned, as Grossino tells his mistress, with reliefs of 
Cupids gathering in the vintage, is now in the Vatican, 
as well as the six candelabra, but the fourth-century 


mosaics of genii picking and pressing the grapes, 
wliich he (les('ri])es as the oldest and some of the 
finest in Rome, may still be seen on the vaulted 
roof. The Mantuan secretary ends his letter by 
giving Isabella a long and minute description of the 
famous statue of the river-god Tiber, with the wolf 
suckling Romulus and Remus, which had just been 
dug up in a house close to the Dominican Convent of 
Sta. Maria sopra Minerva. The discovery attracted 
crowds from all parts of Rome, and the marble group 
was promptly bought by the Pope, and placed in the 
Belvedere, together with a Sleeping Nymph, generally 
known as Ariadne, but which Grossino calls a Cleo- 
patra, and which was celebrated as such in an elegant 
set of Latin hexameters by Castiglione. In an earher 
letter, of July 12, 1511, Grossino also mentions the 
famous Apollo, " a statue," he writes, " held to be 
no less fine than the Laocoon," which had been 
discovered some years before on a farm at Grotta- 
ferrata, belonging to Pope JuUus when he was still 
Cardinal della Rovere, and was now removed to the 
Vatican. Another of Grossino's letters gives a curious 
description of the so-called Feast of the Jews at 
carnival, when twelve Jews ran a race on foot from 
the Piazza di S. Pietro to the Castel Sant' Angelo. 
Messer Rabi, the Pope's Hebrew doctor, presided at 
this fete, and one hundred armed Jews rode before him, 
while fifty others marched at his side, bearing olive 
boughs and banners with the Pope's arms, and those 
of the city of Rome, S.P.Q.R. The scarlet pallium 
was presented to the winner by the Senator, amid 
shouts of Julio I and the Jews who took part in the 
race were entertained at Messer Rabi's house. 
Federico also attended the bull-baiting and horse 


races on the Piazza di S. Pietro, and a splendid 
masquerade in the Campo dei Fiori, when Isabella's 
uncle, the handsome Cardinal of Aragon, and several 
other Monsignori, appeared on Arab horses in mag- 
nificent Hungarian costumes, blazing with gold and 
silver and jewels, with belts and scimitars, boots and 
spurs to match.^ 

The Marchesa, we may be sure, appreciated these 
details fully, and was still better pleased to hear how 
diligently Federico studied Greek and mathematics 
with Raphael's friend, the learned old humanist, Fabio 
Calvi of Ravenna, whose frugal habits and devotion 
to his studies filled his pleasure-loving contemporaries 
with amazement. Her maternal pride was highly 
flattered when Filippo Beroaldo composed an ode in 
honour of Federico, and she wrote back that she 
hoped this would encourage him to still greater 
efforts, even though she could hardly believe that he 
possessed all the excellent gifts which the poet 
ascribed to him. She now resolved to make use of 
Federico's influence with the Pope to pave the way 
for a reconciliation between His Holiness and her 
brother Alfonso. 

The Duke, finding himself abandoned by his 
French allies, humbly asked leave to come to Rome 
and obtain absolution from the Pope. He had a 
powerful friend at the Vatican in the person of 
Fabrizio Colonna, Elisabetta Gonzaga's brother-in- 
law, whom he had taken prisoner in the battle of 
Ravenna, and released without ransom. At his 
intercession, Julius consented to grant the Duke a 
safe conduct for his journey, and Alfonso came to 
Rome in July, accompanied by Isabella's Latin 

^ Luzio, op. cit., pp. 28-34. 


teacher, Mario Equicola, and took up his abode in 
the house of Cardinal Gonzaga, near S. I^orenzo in 
Lucina. Federico obtained leave to entertain his 
uncle at a banquet in the Vatican, and afterwards 
gave a concert in his honour, at which the best 
singers and musicians in Rome performed. Before 
dinner, the Duke visited the Borgia apartments, 
where he greatly admired Pinturicchio's frescoes, and 
afterwards expressed so much anxiety to see the vault 
of the chapel which Michel Angelo was painting, that 
Federico sent to ask Buonarroti, in the Pope's name, 
if his uncle might ascend the scaffolding. The desired 
permission was given, and "the Duke," writes Gros- 
sino, "went up into the vault with several gentle- 
men of his suite. One by one they came down again, 
all but the Duke, who could not satisfy his eyes with 
gazing at these figures, and remained up there for a 
long time talking to Michel Angelo, and ended by 
begging him to paint him a picture, for which he 
offered a large sum, and the master promised that he 
w^ould do this. Meanwhile, Signor Federico, seeing 
that His Excellency remained so long in the vault, 
took his gentlemen to see the Pope's rooms, and those 
which Raphael of Urbino is painting, and when the 
Duke came down he wished to show him the Pope's 
room, and the stanze which Raphael is painting, but 
His Excellency refused to go there, and his gentlemen 
told me that he had too much respect for the Pope to 
enter the room where His Holiness slept." ^ 

The next day, Fabrizio Colonna introduced the 
Duke into the Pope's presence, while immense 
crowds assembled at the Vatican gates, hoping to 
see the redoubted victor of Ferrara do penance as 

^ Luzio, op. cit., p. 37. 


Barbarossa of old at the feet of His Holiness ; but 
the Pope's first greeting was friendly enough. He 
welcomed Fabrizio as one of the deliverers of Italy, 
and gave Alfonso absolution in private only, desiring 
him to visit the four principal churches in Rome, and 
agreed to appoint a Commission of Cardinals to settle 
the terms of his reconciliation.^ Before the Duke 
left, he asked him to release his unfortunate brothers, 
Ferrante and Giulio, who had implored the Holy 
Father to save them from their misery, but could 
obtain no satisfaction on this point, and Alfonso's 
uncle, the Cardinal of Aragon, declared that he 
thought they were dead. But when the terms of the 
agreement were discussed, it appeared that the Pope, 
who had already taken possession of Modena and 
Reggio, demanded the cession of Ferrara itself, and 
offered the Duke the town of Asti in exchange. 
When Alfonso indignantly refused to accept these 
terms, the Pope broke out into one of his most 
furious passions, and Fabrizio Colonna, fearing for his 
guest's safety, helped him to leave Rome by night 
and escape secretly, first to his castle of Marino, and 
afterwards to Ferrara.^ After this, the Pope's anger 
knew no bounds. He began proceedings against the 
Duke as a rebellious vassal, threatened Colonna with 
vengeance, and stormed at every one around him. 
When Alfonso sent Ariosto to try and appease his 
wrath, he only raged the more, and bade the poet 
begone from his sight, or he would order him to be 
drowned in the Tiber.^ But this time the fiery old 

^ Sanuto, xiv. ; Pastor, op. cit. ; Bro'=;c!i, op. cii., 352. 

2 Paride Grassi, Diarii, British Museum MSS. ; Pastor, op. cit. 

3 F. Vettori, Arch. St., App., vi. 288 ; Guicciardini, Opere Inedite, 
vi. 83. 


Pontiff had gone too far. Even his allies resented his 
violence, and King Ferdinand told Guicciardini, the 
Florentine envoy at the Court of Spain, that he had 
no intention of allowing the Pope to seize Ferrara 
and become another Borgia.^ 

^ Guicciardini, op. inedite, vi. 88. 



The Congress of Mantua — The Viceroy of Naples, Bishop of Gurk, 
and Giuliano dei Medici at Mantua — MaximiUan Sforza de- 
clared Duke of Milan by the allies — Isabella's intrigues in his 
favour — The Medici restored by Spanish troops — Sack of Prato 
and return of Giuliano and Giovanni dei Medici to Florence 
— Congratulations of Isabella — Her intrigues on behalf of Fer- 
rara — The Pope's threats — Cardinal Gurk in Rome — Carnival 
fetes and Fra Mariano — Federico's portrait painted by Raphael 
— Death of Julius II. — Election of Pope Leo X. — Bibbiena 
becomes a Cardinal. 

Early in the month of August 1512, the represen- 
tatives of the allied powers met at Mantua, where 
a prolonged conference took place, and Isabella 
d'Este displayed her usual tact and ability in the 
conduct of negotiations. On this occasion, her friend 
the Bishop of Gurk again represented the Emperor, 
and Raimondo de Cardona, Viceroy of Naples, visited 
Mantua for the first time as King Ferdinand's deputy. 
Giuliano dei Medici and his clever secretary, Bernardo 
da Bibbiena, were the agents accredited by the Pope, 
while Giovanni Soderini, the brother of the Gonfa- 
loniere, was the nominal representative of Florence, 
but soon found that he possessed little authority. 
The Pope was determined to punish the Republic for 
her adhesion to France, and the restoration of the 
Medici had already been secretly agreed upon, but 
the great question which occupied the envoys was 

VOL. IL " 'E 


the settlement of Milan. Both Maximilian and Fer- 
dinand would have liked to bestow the Duchy on 
their young grandson, Charles, but neither the Pope 
nor Venice and Mantua would agree to this, and the 
Swiss, who held Milan, and were the real masters of 
the situation, declared at once in favour of Maximilian 
Sforza, the Moro's elder son. Since the first con- 
quest of Milan by the French in 1499, this youth 
had been brought up at Innsbriick, with his brother 
Francesco, in the care of his cousin, the Empress 
Bianca, and was more of a German than an Italian 
in his habits and tastes. He was now nineteen, and 
showed little signs of his father's talent or his mother's 
high spirit ; but Isabella could not forget that he was 
her nephew, and not only rejoiced that Beatrice's son 
should reign on his father's throne, but saw in his 
accession a new opportunity for the advancement of 
her family's interests. She threw herself heart and 
soul into the young prince's cause, and lost no oppor- 
tunity of urging his claims on Lang and Cardona, as 
well as on Giuliano dei Medici and Bibbiena, who 
were already her sworn friends and allies. The 
Viceroy soon fell a prey to the charms of the brilliant 
Marchesa and her lovely maids-of-honour. The 
intervals of business were filled with music and song, 
with pleasant society and gay jests, and while Giuliano 
and the handsome Bernardo declared themselves to be 
in love with fair Alda Boiarda, Cardona and the Bishop 
were at the feet of the fascinating beauty Brognina. 
Isabella herself had a happy knack of discussing grave 
political questions at these lively Uttle dances and 
suppers, and she knew, above all, how to govern 
others without ever allowing her influence to appear. 
In this case, the choice of Maximilian Sforza agreed 


particularly well with the interests of the confederates, 
as one of the most clear-sighted Florentine statesmen 
of the day remarked : " The Pope wished to have a 
weak Duke of Milan, so as to dispose of the wealthy 
benefices in the Duchy at his will. The Bishop of 
Gurk only cared to raise as much money as possible 
for his imperial master. The Viceroy wished to 
quarter his Spanish troops in Lombardy and receive 
pay for them. The Swiss counted on getting their 
hire from the Duke, and remaining the real masters 
of Milan ; and Venice looked forward to an easy 
triumph over a feeble prince."^ So the business of 
the conference was speedily despatched in a manner 
agreeable to all parties, saving the unfortunate Floren- 
tine envoy, whose opinion was seldom asked. When 
he left Mantua, the doom of Florence was already 

On the 21st of August, the Spanish army entered 
Tuscany with the Medici brothers, and when the 
Gonfaloniere sent troops to oppose their advance, 
Prato was stormed and cruelly sacked. On the 
31st, GiuHano sent the Marchesa the following 
note 2 in Bibbiena's writing : " I know well that 
Your Excellency will rejoice in my happiness, and 
therefore hasten to tell you that to-morrow my most 
reverend brother and I are about to return to our 
home, and take possession of our own house, with 
the consent of the whole city of Florence. An 
infinite number of citizens have come here to con- 
gratulate us on our good fortune. The good news 
will, I know, give Your Excellency and her illustrious 
lord the greatest pleasure, so I send a courier to tell 

1 Francesco Vettori, iS/on'a c^'/to/ia, 1511-1527, in Arch. St. It., yi. 

2 Pastor, " Hist, of the Popes," vi. 654. 


you this, and to remind you that I shall be as 
entirely at your service, when I am back in my 
home, as I have been during my long exile. I 
commend myself to my dear Madonna Alda and 
Equicola, and all your noble court, and so does the 
Moccicone, vv^ho is your faithful servant. — Your ser- 
vant, GiULiANO DEI Medici." Prato, 31st August, 

9 P.M. 

The next day the tw^o brothers entered Florence 
in state, and Isabella sent Giuliano her warmest 
congratulations. " I thank Your Signory," she writes, 
" for this happy news, and assure you that nothing 
could give me greater pleasure. I rejoice to think 
that your return to your own house should be 
accomplished without any tumult, and with the 
consent of the RepubUc, and hold this for a good 
augury of your future peace and prosperity. I feel 
sure that your return will excite the less opposition, 
and will be the more grateful to all, since it has 
been so fortunately effected without any bloodshed. 
And tell Moccicone how much we all rejoice with 
him, in this the greatest joy that he has ever had." ^ 

So Isabella wrote, in unconscious irony, ignorant 
of the horrible cruelties of the Spanish soldiers, and 
of the thousands of innocent women and children 
who had fallen victims to their greed and lust. She 
was not without her own anxieties at the time, 
and, in a letter to Cardinal d'Este,^ she tells him 
of a stormy interview that had taken place between 
the Pope and the Mantuan envoy, in which His 
Holiness complained bitterly of the Marquis saying 
that, owing to him, the Diet had been held at 

1 Luzio e Renier, Mantova e Urbino, p. 222. 

2 Guasti, Sacco di Prato. 


Mantua instead of in Rome, to the shame and dis- 
honour of the Church, and that now Gurk refused 
to appear before him. " He accuses us,'" continues 
Isabella, "of giving shelter to the Ferrarese, and 
swears that if you and the Duchess and her children 
come to Mantua, he will order his army to march 
against this state instead of Ferrara, regardless of 
the Emperor's wishes, and will send Federico to 
the Torresella of Venice, together with many bad 
words." ^ 

The old Pope's anger would have been still more 
fierce if he could have seen the letters and messages 
which Isabella sent repeatedly to her son-in-law of 
Urbino, begging him, for her sake, to spare Ferrara, 
and do as httle injury as possible to her brother's 
subjects. Castiglione, who was at Urbino, and who 
had, as Isabella told her brothers, more influence 
with the Duke than any one else, sent her consoHng 
assurances, and while the Marquis wrote groveUing 
letters to the Pope, promising to send him the first 
of the Este traitors who dared set foot on his ter- 
ritory, Francesco Maria wasted so much time over 
his preparations that it became necessary to suspend 
military operations until the spring. Meanwhile 
Parma and Piacenza were given up to the Church, 
and sent delegates with splendid presents to Rome. 
Finally, on the 4th of November, the Bishop of 
Gurk himself arrived at the Vatican, and pubhcly 
announced the Emperor's adhesion to the Lateran 
Council. The Pope, overjoyed at this triumph, wel- 
comed Maximilian's ambassador with royal honours, 
and raised him to the dignity of Cardinal. On 
the 25th of November, the new aUiance between 

^ Luzio e Renier, Mantova e Urbino, p. 205. 


the Emperor and the Pope was solemnly proclaimed 
in S. Maria del Popolo, and Federico rode at the 
Pope's side, " looking," wrote Stazio Gadio, " as 
beautiful as an angel," in a suit of gold and peacock 
satin, with a white velvet cap and fine white feathers, 
given him by his mother, fastened by a diamond 
clasp, with the letters A.C.R.V., "which His 
Holiness thus interprets, ^ Anior caro ritorna vivo' 
— ' Dear love, come home safe.' " ^ 

The following Christmas and carnival were cele- 
brated with greater gaiety than had been known 
for many years in Rome. The banquets and suppers 
to which Federico was invited at the house of his 
uncle, Sigismondo Gonzaga, and of the other Car- 
dinals, were marked by a wild revelry and an absence 
of decorum which his mother would hardly have 
approved, and Stazio felt it necessary to suppress 
certain incidents in his letters to the IMarchesa. 
He does not, for instance, mention the presence of 
the Roman courtesan Albina at Cardinal Gonzaga's 
house, one night when Fra Mariano jumped on 
the table, and, gallantly assisted by Bibbiena, threw 
chickens at each other, and smeared the guests' 
faces with soup and sauce from the dishes on the 
table.^ This Fra Mariano Fetti, whose presence was 
so much in request among the members of the 
Sacred College, and in whose company, Stazio writes, 
it was impossible not to be liierry, afterwards became 
the favourite buffoon of Leo X., and held the luc- 
rative post of Pio?}ibatore, or Keeper of the Papal 
Seals, for many years. He professed great devotion 
to the Marquis of Mantua, who repeatedly presented 

* Luzio, Federico, p. 40. 
8 Ibid,, p. 47. 


the pallium which his horses won on the Corso to 
the friar's convent of S. Silvestro, and his witty 
letters abound in affectionate messages to the Mar- 
chesa and the caro Marchesino. In the midst of 
these carnival festivities, he and Bibbiena were 
summoned by their patron, Cardinal Medici, to 
Florence, and from the convent of San Marco, in 
that city, the Frate addressed a long letter to the 
Marquis, in which, after condoling with him on his 
long illness, and praising the charms of his sweet 
little son, whose young face has refreshed and re- 
newed the life of the old city of Rome, he tells him 
that he, the poor friar, has only two wishes left in 
the world. One is to visit the sanctuary of S. Maria 
di Loreto ; the other to come to Mantua, to see his 
dear lord and the famous palazzina which contains 
the Triumphs of Petrarch (?) by Andrea Mantegna, 
the glory of Mantua. If it were not for the horrors 
of wind, snow and rain, of mud and marshes, he 
would fly thither at once and taste of the good fish 
of Garda ; but once let the spring come, and he will 
set out without delay to spend a joyous week in 
the company of his lord, for whose health all good 
Dominicans never cease to pray.i 

But the most splendid pageant held in Rome 
during the carnival of 1513 was a procession repre- 
senting the Triumph of Pope Julius II., which 
started from the Capitol and passed down the Corso 
to the bridge of Sant' Angelo and along the Via 
de' Pontefici to the Agone. In this strange mas- 
querade the victory of the Pope over the French, 
the deliverance of captive Italy, and the sittings of 
the Lateran Council, were all set forth ; and the 

^ Luzio, op. cit, p. 48. 


different cities were represented by symbolic figures 
and groups, with the usual abundance of scriptural 
and classical allusions — JNIoses lifting up the brazen 
serpent in the wilderness, Phaeton faUing from 
Heaven, and the sun-god Apollo, throned in his 
temple of Delphi, triumphing over all his foes. But 
while the long procession, which Isabella's corre- 
spondents describe minutely in their letters, was 
winding through the crowded streets, amid the 
acclamations of all Rome, the Pope himself was 
dying in the Vatican, and not all the science of the 
learned Jewish physician could bring back the breath 
of life into the old man's worn-out frame. On the 
18th of February, Stazio Gadio wrote to tell the 
Marquis that the Pope was suffering from a sudden 
attack of fever, and that the worst was feared. 
The Cardinals had placed guards at the gates of 
the Vatican, and some of the captains had asked 
Federico to take the command of the papal troops. 
On all sides people were removing their property 
for fear of a tumult, and Signor Federico himself 
was doubtful whether to remain or not, but would 
follow his uncle Cardinal Gonzaga's directions. Per- 
fect order was maintained, however, and Federico 
remained quietly in his rooms. 

A year before this, on the 24th of May 1512, 
Isabella d'Este had written to desire that her son's 
portrait should be painted by Raphael. " Since we 
have been obliged," she writes to Ippoliti, "to give 
away the portrait of our son Federico, which was 
painted at Bologna, we wish to have another, 
especially as we hear he is still handsomer and more 
graceful than he was then. We desire you to see if 
the painter Raphael, the son of Giovarmi Santi of 


Urbino, is now in Rome. If he is, ask him to 
paint a bust of Federico in armour, but if Raphael 
should not be there, find out who is the best master 
next to him, since we do not wish to have him 
painted by an inferior artist, but desire that his 
portrait should be taken by some good master, whom 
we will treat with our usual honourable courtesy. 
And tell him that we should hke the portrait to 
be life-size and painted as soon as possible, since 
there is nothing that we wish for more." 

A whole year passed, however, before Raphael 
was able to undertake the commission. At length, 
on the 13th of January 1513, he invited the young 
prince to give him his first sitting. " Yesterday," 
wrote Stazio Gadio to the Marchesa, " Federico 
armed himself with Your Excellency's doublet, put 
on his plumed hat and gold cape, and went to 
have his portrait painted by Maestro Raphael of 
Urbino, painter to His Holiness, who took a sketch 
of him in charcoal in this dress, which he will paint 

" M. Raphael of Urbino," adds Grossino, " has 
begun to paint Signor Federico in the costume 
which he wore at the opening of the Council, armed 
with the doublet and wearing the hat which Your 
Excellency sent him." 

A month later, on the 15th of February, Grossino 
wrote again : " As for S. Federico' s portrait, I ask 
M. Raphael constantly how it is progressing ; he 
tells me that he is working at it, and that I need 
have no fear, since he is very anxious to paint this 
portrait and serve Your Excellency well." But four 
days after this, Grossino wrote : " M. Raphael of 
Urbino has returned the cape and doublet of 


S. Federico, in which he was to paint his portrait, and 
begs Your Excellency to pardon him, since, at the 
present time, it is impossible for him to give his 
mind to the work." 

His great patron's life was fast ebbing away, 
and that very night of the 20th of February the 
Pope breathed his last. The heroic nature of the 
man was never more evident than on his death- 
bed. Cardinal Gonzaga, in a letter which he wrote 
to Mantua that evening, owns that he and all his 
brother Cardinals were moved to tears when the 
dying Pope bade them farewell, and calmly gave 
them his last blessing. He asked them to pray for 
his soul, saying that he had been a great sinner, 
and had not governed the Church well. And 
with perfect composure he gave directions for the 
coming Conclave, and begged them to observe his 
laws against simony and keep their hands pure. 
" After we had kissed his hand and received his last 
blessing, he took leave of us with the utmost forti- 
tude, but not without many tears on our part. I 
confess I could not help weeping when I remembered 
aU the benefits which Your Excellency and all our 
house, but I above all, have received from him. And 
I was moved to tears even more by the sight of this 
strong and constant soul, which the near approach 
of death could not shake, turning to God our 
Saviour, and with true greatness of heart remember- 
ing all those things which most people forget in their 
last hours. His Holiness sees, hears, understands, 
speaks, orders, and provides, as if he were in full 
strength and health, and is perfectly calm and self- 
possessed, although he is actually dying." ^ A few 

1 Luzio, Federico, p. 51. 


hours later, Federico himself wrote the following 
brief note to his father: "During the past night, 
at the hour of half-past four on Monday morning, 
His Holiness Pope Julius II. passed from this 
world into the next, called by our Lord God to 
life eternal." ^ 

Great was the lamentation when the news of 
the Pope's death was made known. " Rome felt," 
writes Gregorovius, " that a kingly soul had passed 
away." And Paride Grassi, who had lived forty 
years in Rome, says that he never saw such crowds 
at a Pope's funeral before, or such tokens of genuine 
and widespread grief. " They thronged to kiss his 
feet and gaze on his dead face, for all recognised 
in him a true Roman Pontiff and Vicar of Christ, a 
defender and protector of the weak against tyrants, 
and the deliverer of Italy from the barbarians." ^ 

Only in Ferrara was the news of Julius the 
Second's death hailed with satisfaction. Alfonso 
d'Este was delivered from his most dangerous 
enemy, and Isabella must have been secretly con- 
scious of a deep sense of relief. Now, at least, 
Federico would be set free, and could return to 
her arms at once. As soon as the Conclave met 
he obtained permission from the Sacred College to 
go to Mantua, and on the 3rd of March took 
leave of the Cardinals. "The door was not quite 
closed," writes honest Grossino to his mistress, "so 
I could see through the opening how His Highness 
bowed to the ground and tried to kiss their hands, 
but they all embraced and kissed him." ^ 

1 D'Arco, Arch. St. It., App. ii. 284. 

2 Gregorovius, Rom, viii. 113; Creighton, v. 189, 
2 Luzio, op. cit., p. 52. 


A week aftei-wards, Cardinal Medici was pro- 
claimed Pope, and his secretary, Bibbiena, wrote 
joyfully to inform the Marchesa Isabella of his 
patron's election, and to assure her of Leo the 
Tenth's absolute devotion to her person and in- 

" Your Signory will have already heard this most 
happy news of the accession of your most reverend 
compatre to the pontificate, which will, I know, give 
you immense joy and consolation, because, putting 
aside the singular love which His Holiness and all 
his house have ever borne to your illustrious con- 
sort and yourself, you will understand that the 
safety of your nephew and his state, as well as that 
of your brother, depends on the elevation of your 
compatre to the Holy See. So that Your Excel- 
lency has greater cause to rejoice over this most 
fortunate event than any other person in the world, 
and so I too rejoice with Your Highness and con- 
gratulate you warmly. His Holiness wished your 
illustrious fii'st-born son, Signor Federico, had been 
still in Rome, when he came out of the Conclave, 
so as to show him some sign of that true and great 
affection for Your Excellency and the Marquis, of 
which the Holy Father has already spoken re- 
peatedly, and I tell you this that you may know 
His Holiness has your interests ever at his heart, 
and loves you well." And after many protestations 
of his own devotion and anxiety to serve her, especi- 
ally now that, as he modestly puts it, "he may be 
of a Uttle more account than he was before," 
Bibbiena ends by sending his affectionate greetings 
to Madonna Laura (Giovanni Gonzaga's wife), his 
dear Madonna Alda, and all the Marchesana's ladies, 


above all Isabella Lavagnolo, and her tutor, Mario 
Equicola. ^ 

The Marchesa was at Milan when the news of 
Leo's election reached her, and sent Equicola at 
once to kiss the new Pope's feet and offer him her 
congratulations. On the 28th of March, she repUed 
to Bibbiena in the following letter : " You will have 
already heard from Mario Equicola of the joy and 
delight with which this happy event has filled us, and 
really, since the day of our birth, we have never had 
any greater pleasure than this good news, which 
reached us immediately after we heard of the death 
of Pope Julius. For all of which we praise and 
thank our Lord God, hoping that, by the great 
goodness and wisdom of His Holiness, we may see 
the safety of the Duke our brother's state secured, 
that of our nephew the Duke of Milan established, as 
well as the honour and exaltation of our husband the 
Marquis and the peace of all Italy confirmed. On 
our own account we are satisfied that we shall enjoy 
the protection and perpetual favour of His Holiness, 
both because of the bond of our common sponsorship 
and of the love and regard we bore him as Cardinal 
dei Medici, not to speak of our intimate friendship 
with his brother, the Magnifico Giuliano. No less do 
we reckon on the favour and influence which you 
will retain with His Holiness, feeling no doubt that 
neither rank nor honours will change your nature, 
but that you wiU be as kind and affectionate to us as 
ever, even although we have made you lose 500 
ducats I " ^ After this allusion to some wager between 
them regarding the result of the Conclave, she ends 

1 Luzio e Renier, op. cit., p. 209. 

2 Ibid., p. 211. 


by congratulating Bibbiena on the new dignities of 
protonotary and treasurer which the Pope had 
bestowed upon him. Equicola, in his letters from 
Rome, informed his mistress that his friend Bibbiena 
stood foremost in the Pope's favour, and was already 
beset with needy pensioners seeking his good offices, 
but told the Marchesa that he was as gay and kindly 
as ever, and quite unspoilt by his sudden elevation. 
But there are so many Florentines at court, he 
adds, that it is impossible to count them. The 
whole Vatican — indeed, one may say the whole of 
Rome — has become Florentine ! The Pope, who had 
not forgotten the kind welcome which he had found 
at Mantua a year before, when he escaped from the 
French camp, after being made prisoner in the battle 
of Ravenna, received Isabella's envoy most graciously, 
and spoke in the warmest terms of the Marchesa, 
saying that he looked upon her as a dear sister, only 
that she inspired him with more profound reverence. 
Bibbiena, who was only thirty-three years of age, 
now took deacon's orders with a view to his future 
elevation, and, as his friends expected, was created a 
Cardinal in the following autumn. The Marchesa 
was one of the first to whom he announced his new 
dignity, and, in a graceful note bearing the date of 
the 18th of October, he thanked her for her kind 
congratulations. " Your Highness," he wrote, " will 
not, I hope, think that I am so vulgar as to think 
myself of more importance than I was before, least of 
all with regard to you ; for, even if this rank brings 
me greater respect from others — which, indeed, I 
have not as yet discovered! — this can only affect 
those who are strangers to me, certainly not Your 
Excellency, whose Moccicone I will remain to the end. 


As for that part of your sweet and charming letter in 
which you say that the prayers I offer in this habit 
must avail more, I gladly agree, and hope that the 
friends who are nearest to me may receive more than 
others. All the same, it is devil's work to ask favours 
for others, even for those whom you most wish to 
help I but I will try to obey Your Highness, and ask 

All Rome rejoiced at the peaceful opening of the 
new pontificate. *' Once Venus reigned, then Mars, 
now Pallas holds her sway," was the motto which 
Agostino Chigi placed on the triumphal arch which 
he raised in honour of the Pope's coronation. And 
while the Duke of Urbino, clad in deep mourning 
for his uncle, held the Pope's bridle as Prefect of 
Rome and Captain-General of the Church, the 
Duke of Ferrara, absolved from papal censures, and 
sumptuously attired in white and gold brocade, was 
one of the most splendid figures in the ranks of the 
stately procession that passed from St. Peter's to the 
Lateran.^ No one rejoiced more sincerely over his 
restoration to the Holy Father's favour than his sister 
Isabella, and, as she told her friend, the new Cardinal, 
she only longed for the day when she should be able 
to come to Rome herself and kiss the Pope's feet. 

^ Luzio, Federico, p. 13. 

2 Gregorovius, Rom, viii. l67 ; Roscoe, Leo X . App. 



Isabella spends the carnival at Milan — Duke Maximilian Sforza 
— His weakness and extravagance — The Viceroy of Naples 
and Cardinal Gurk at Milan — Isabella and her ladies — Her 
letter to the Marquis in self-defence — Brognina and Alda 
Boiarda dismissed from her service — Tebaldeo attacks Mario 
Equicola and Isabella — Indignation of the Marchesa — Her 
letter to Cardinal d'Este — Duchess Elisabetta's reply. 

While Julius the Second's life was slowly drawing 
to its close, and Federico Gonzaga was sharing the 
orgies of Cardinals and monkish buffoons in Rome, 
his mother was spending a gay carnival at the 
court of her nephew, Maximilian, Duke of Milan. 
The Pope lost no time in inviting the young 
prince to take possession of his father's duchy, and, 
early in the autumn, Maximilian crossed the Alps 
and came to Lombardy. But his formal restoration 
was deferred until after the Bishop of Gurk's visit to 
Rome. In November he paid a visit to Mantua, 
where the Marchesa welcomed him with the greatest 
affection, and a series of brilliant fetes were held in 
his honour. From the first moment of their meeting, 
Beatrice's son seems to have become genuinely 
attached to his aunt, and she on her part exerted 
herself to rouse the weak and indolent youth to a 
sense of his high position and great opportunities. 
But Maximihan's education had been sadly neg- 
lected, and the poverty and dreariness of his long 



years of exile had produced a bad effect upon his 
character. He had grown up eccentric and sus- 
picious, and was rarely seen to smile saving at the 
tricks of dwarfs and clowns, for whom he showed 
a childish passion. When he visited Mantua the 
follies of a certain dwarf belonging to the Marchesa, 
and known by the name of Nanino, pleased him 
better than anything else ; and Lorenzo Strozzi, who 
had lately arrived from Rome, wrote long accounts 
to Federico of the freaks and escapades of this 
favourite buffoon. One day Nanino came to meet 
the Duke in episcopal vestments, with the most 
solemn air in the world ; the next he appeared in the 
robes of a Venetian patrician, while his hunting 
exploits and hand-to-hand fight with a goat afforded 
the Duke unbounded amusement.^ 

A month later Cardinal Gurk and the Viceroy of 
Naples, Raimondo de Cardona, and Cardinal Schinner, 
the leader of the Swiss forces, all came to Milan, 
and took part in the Duke's state entry on the 20th 
of December.^ The Marchesa had promised her 
nephew to honour the New Year festivities with her 
presence, and gladly embraced this opportunity of 
pleading her brother Alfonso's cause with the Spanish 
and Imperial ministers. One winter evening in 
January, she entered Milan by torchlight, accompanied 
by a brilliant train of courtiers and ladies. Among 
them were Delia, who was for many years the 
object of the young Marchese di Pescara's passionate 
devotion ; Alda Boiarda, whose name is so often 
mentioned in Bembo and Bibbiena's letters ; and the 
still more fascinating Brognina, who had already won 

1 Liizio, Buffhni, Nuova Antologia, 1891. 

2 Prato, Cronaca Arch. St. It., iii. 309. 


the hearts of Giirk and Cardona at M.intua in the 
previous summer, A succession of banquets, jousts, 
comedies, and balls followed, and the gaiety of these 
entertainments was in no way diminished by the 
shells that were discharged at intervals by the guns 
of the French garrison which still held the Castello. 
" Happily, the French guns had the courtesy to cease 
when the tilting began I " wrote Isabella in a letter to 
her husband, in which she describes a tournament 
held in front of the Corte Vecchia, that old Sforza 
palace near the Duomo. But on the second day of 
the jousts, when the Marchese di Pescara distin- 
guished himself by his valour, and the Duke and 
Marchesa were again present, a sudden bombardment 
from the Castello sent every one flying I ^ In another 
letter Isabella describes a sumptuous banquet and 
dramatic representation given by the Brescian Count 
Brunoro, brother of Veronica Gambara, on the 25th of 
January. The victory of the League and expulsion of 
the French were celebrated in a series of tableaux and 
musical recitations, and a stately oak — the emblem 
of the Delia Rovere family — with an eagle's nest in 
its topmost boughs, occupied the centre of the stage. 
But the play itself was poor and very inferior, as 
Isabella told her husband, to those performed at 
Mantua. " I am certain," she wrote, " that any one 
who has seen Your Excellency's comedies and fine 
stage scenery must feel more ennui than pleasure at 
the sight of such representations as these." ^ On this 
occasion the Cardinal and Viceroy openly competed 
for the fair maid of honour's favours. Both of them 
endeavoured to kiss Brognina as she entered the 

^ Prato, op. cit., 310. 

2 D'Ancona, Teatro It., vol. ii. 


house, and Monsignore of Gurk, Isabella tells her 
husband, so far forgot his dignity and office as to go 
down on his knees before her. Another evening, 
when Isabella invited the Duke and his illustrious 
guests to a masked ball at her house, the Cardinal 
danced twice with Brognina, and spent most of his 
time in amorous discourse with her. That lady, 
however, made no secret of her preference for 
the Spanish Viceroy, who soon became her recog- 
nised lover and sent a rich present of black and 
crimson velvet in acknowledgment of her favours. 
Isabella meanwhile made use of this opportunity to 
gain the ear of the Emperor's favourite, and when, 
after supper, the guests took off their masks, she 
had a long talk with Cardinal Gurk on the subject 
of Peschiera, a fortified town on the Lake of 
Garda, which had formerly belonged to Mantua, 
and which the Gonzagas were exceedingly anxious 
to recover.^ Little faith, however, she owns, was 
to be placed in Monsignore's promises ; but her 
efforts on behalf of her brothers proved more suc- 
cessful, and she was able to recover some letters 
written by Cardinal Ippolito, betraying his strong 
French sympathies, which had unluckily fallen into 
the hands of the papal legate. In these delicate 
matters Isabella had a skilful assistant in Francesco 
Chiericati, a clever Vicentine humanist, who was 
secretary to Cardinal Schinner, and afterwards rose to 
high favour under Leo X. and his successors. Chieri- 
cati was attached to the Gonzagas, who had shown 
his family much kindness, and he informed the 
Marchesa before her arrival of the existence of some 
of these letters. *' After consulting Madonna Ippolita 

1 Luzio, Arch. St. Lomb., 1901, p. l62. 


Sforza," he wrote to Isabella on the 29t]i of November, 
" I burnt them all, feeling sure you would not wish 
them to be preserv^ed." Isabella never forgot Chieri- 
cati's service on tliis occasion, and always honoured 
him with her friendship and regard.^ 

The Marchesa's own letters from Milan give many 
curious instances of the jealousy with which the 
Italians regarded the Spaniards, who were ready to 
draw their swords at the least provocation, while 
their greed and rapacity soon became proverbial. At 
one ball given by the Duke in the Corte Vecchia, 
not only were the gold buttons of his courtiers secretly 
cut off, but Isabella herself, whose gown was adorned 
with her favourite device of small gold candelabra, 
lost several of these ornaments in the course of the 
same evening.^ 

Political considerations, as well as her nephew's 
pressing entreaties, induced Isabella to prolong her 
visit until the beginning of March. But when the 
news of the Pope's death reached her, and she heard 
that her darling Federico was about to return, she 
set out at once for Mantua. Unfortunately, reports 
of the scandal excited by the Viceroy's amours with 
the Marchesa's maid of honour had reached her 
husband's ears, and before she left Milan Isabella 
received an angry letter from the Marquis, reproaching 
her for her prolonged absence, and telling her that 
the disgraceful conduct of her ladies had made her 
the common talk of the town. The frank and noble 
letter in which Isabella replied to these accusations 
has lately been discovered by Signor Luzio in the Gon- 
zaga archives,^ and deserves to be given in full : — 

* B. Morsolin, F. Chiericati, p. 124. 
2 Luzio, op. ciL, p. l6l. 
» Ibid., p. l64. 


" My dear Lord, — T am sorry but hardly surprised 
to hear that you were not satisfied witli my explana- 
tions* and I should be more so, if I felt this to be my 
fault, as it certainly is my misfortune. But, since 
the reason why I did not obey Your Excellency at 
once was that, with your own permission, I wished to 
help my brother and please my nephew, it seems to 
me that you need not express so much dissatisfaction, 
and I can only lament the unlucky fate which always 
renders my actions displeasing to you. And I 
certainly do not believe that I have done anything on 
this Milanese journey, for which I deserve to become 
' the common talk of the town.' I know that I have 
acquired many new friends on your behalf, as well 
as on my own, and that I have behaved as I ought 
to do, and as I am always accustomed to behave, for, 
thanks to the grace of my God and myself, I never 
needed either to be controlled by others, or to be 
reminded how to govern my actions. And, although 
in other things I count for nothing, God has granted 
me this grace, for which Your Excellency owes me 
as much gratitude as ever any husband owed his wife, 
and even if you loved and honoured me as much as 
possible you could never repay my faithfulness. This 
makes you sometimes to say that I am proud, because, 
knowing how much I deserve of you and how little I 
receive, I am tempted at times to alter my nature 
and to appear different from what I am. But even 
if you should always treat me badly, I would never 
cease to do what is right, and the less love you show 
me, the more I shall always love you, because, in 
truth, this love is part of myself, and I became your 
wife so young that I can never remember having 
been witliout it. This being the case, I think that, 


without incurring your displeasure, I might be at 
liberty to put off my return a fortnight, for the 
reasons which I have already explained. Do not be 
angry with me, and say that you do not believe I 
wish to see you, as I have said in my letters, for if 
my desire in this respect were satisfied, you would let 
me see you much more often than I do in Mantua. 
I commend myself once more to Your Excellency, 
and beg your pardon for writing so long a letter. 
From one who loves you as well as herself. — Isabella, 
Marchesa di Mantoa^a." In Piacenza, the 12th 
day of March, 1513. 

This letter not only reveals the innate nobleness 
and loyalty of Isabella's nature, and confirms our esti- 
mate of her fine character, but also throws light on the 
painful circumstances of her private Ufe during the 
long and trying years of her husband's illness. The 
unhappy man, suffering as he was from incurable 
disease, and condemned to a life of enforced idleness, 
sank into a querulous and fretful invalid, who 
quarrelled with his servants and friends, worried his 
wife incessantly over trifles, and complained bitterly 
whenever she was absent. The patience with which 
Isabella bore his caprices, the faithfulness with which 
she carried out his wishes, and her affectionate solici- 
tude for his health and anxious endeavours to amuse 
and distract him, are evident from the almost daily 
letters which she addressed to him during her journeys. 
On this occasion, it must be admitted, the behaviour 
of Brognina had given just cause for scandal ; and 
although at Milan the Marchesa might think it pru- 
dent to shut her eyes to her maid of honour's flirtations 
with personages as exalted as Raimondo de Cardona 
and Cardinal Gurk, she herself felt that it was no 


longer possible to keep the girl in her service. Ac- 
cordingly, Brognina retired to a convent near Goito, 
where she lived as the recognised mistress of the 
Viceroy.^ But the effects of the Marquis Francesco's 
displeasure did not end here. A few months later, 
he dismissed the Marchesa's favourite maid of honour, 
Alda Boiarda, the cousin of the Ferrara poet, Matteo 
Boiardo, who had lived for ten years in her service, 
and was as much beloved by Duchess Elisabetta and 
Emiha Pia as by Giuliano dei Medici and Bibbiena. 
This time, Isabella was deeply distressed, and she 
interceded in vain for this devoted servant, who had 
been her companion on so many journeys, and re- 
mained her friend to the end. But the Marquis 
sternly refused to listen to her entreaties, declar- 
ing in a letter which he wrote to Isabella that Alda 
had lighted a flame of discord in his household which 
would not be extinguished in his lifetime, and saying 
that no person so universally hated had ever left his 
court.^ The Marchesa, on her part, did not forget 
her friend, and wrote sadly to Alda's sister regretting 
that she had been compelled to part from her, and 
had been unable to do more for so dear and faithful a 

The troubles among Isabella's ladies were followed 
by a violent quarrel between two of her favourite men 
of letters, the poet Tebaldeo and Mario Equicola, her 
tutor. Mario's name, as we have seen, was frequently 
linked, more in jest than earnest, with that of Isabella 
Lavagnola, the sister of the Marchesa's old dancing- 
master, and one of her most trusted attendants. 
Many are the allusions to Isabella's charms and to 

' Luzio in Arch. St. Lomb., 1901. 

2 Luzio e Renier, Gium. St, d. Lett. It., 19OO, 


Mario's supposed devotion for her in Bi])biena's letters, 
and tlie Cardinal himself often declared that he be- 
longed to the number of her most ardent admirers. 
But her conduct and character seem to have been as 
blameless as the Marchesa's own, and even Francesco 
Gonzaga w^as furious when, on All Saints' Day, 1513, 
a copy of scurrilous verses directed against Equicola 
and Isabella was found nailed up on the walls in 
different parts of Mantua. A strict inquiry was at 
once instituted, and the deed was traced back to 
Isabella's treasurer, Giulio Oldoino, who confessed 
that the verses had been composed and sent to him 
by Tebaldeo. The poet had left Mantua some time 
ago, and was already suspected of being the author of 
a similar lampoon which had appeared in Rome. 
Oldoino excused himself for his share in this unworthy 
act by saying that Mario was his enemy, and had 
slandered him, and that he did not think the verses 
could do the Marchesa or Isabella any real injury. 
He was promptly dismissed for his pains, and that 
although he had spent sixteen years in the Marchesa's 
service, while Francesco Gonzaga addressed a furious 
reprimand to the poet Tebaldeo, reproaching him with 
the vilest ingratitude and threatening terrible ven- 
geance. Isabella, on her part, wrote long letters to 
Rome and Urbino, giving full accounts of the transac- 
tion, and begging all her friends to withdraw their 
favour from the poet who had stooped to such baseness. 
The letter which she addressed to her brother. 
Cardinal d'Este, who had returned to Rome, and 
stood high in the new Pope's favour, is very charac- 
teristic of her impetuous and affectionate nature, 
and shows how keenly she resented this insult to 
her innocent servant : — 


*' Most Reverend and dear Brother, — I believe 
Your Reverend Highness heard that some time ago 
a letter written by my tutor, Equicola, was surrep- 
titiously stolen and printed with some additional lines 
scoffing at Mario and my attendant, Isabella. I am 
sure that you and every gentle lord and lady will have 
severely blamed the vn-iter of these verses, which, I 
confess, excited my serious displeasure, not on account 
of Mario, who is well able to defend himself, but 
because I objected that a member of my household 
should be spoken of with so little respect. I was still 
more amazed to see that I was accused by the writer 
of having pronounced Mario's writings superior to 
those of any living scholar. But since I could not 
discover the author of this calumny, in spite of cer- 
tain suspicions which crossed my mind from the first, 
I resolved to bide my time, feeling certain that time 
would reveal the name of the guilty man, and that he 
would soon be found out and punished, as has indeed 
happened, because on the Feast of All Saints, certain 
sonnets, containing still more abusive slanders of 
Mario and Isabella, were found fastened up on the 
wall in many places of the town. One of these libels 
I now enclose for Your Reverence to see. After this, 
I could no longer submit to such indignity, and made 
a strict inquiry, from which I discovered that the 
verses had been sent from Bologna by that fine gen- 
tleman Tebaldeo to my treasurer, Giulio Oldoino, 
who could not deny the charge, and confessed that he 
had ordered them to be put up in public places, and 
excused himself by saying that Mario was his enemy, 
and that he did not think the mention of Isabella 
would hurt either her or me. I gave Giulio no other 


punishment than that of instant dismissal from my 
service, where he has hved lionourably for the last 
sixteen years, although he really deserved to be 
treated with greater severity, since Isabella had never 
done him any wrong, and he must have known how 
much the verses would displease me. As for Tebaldeo, 
all I desire is that you and all these lords and ladies 
should know how ungratefully he has behaved to my 
lord and myself, after being entertained and rewarded 
by us during many years past, and that without hold- 
ing any office at this court or doing us any service. 
If Tebaldeo himself left your service because he was 
so much affi-onted at seeing one of his boys in your 
house punished, what, must he think, are my feelings 
at seeing one of my most faithful maidens publicly 
held up to ridicule by him ? Truly, his has been a 
fine and noble invention, worthy of eternal fame 1 II 
Mario's commentary on his works excited his envy, 
he might have chosen some better way of answering 
and confuting him than by slandering the honour of a 
maiden, out of hatred for one who looks on love rather 
as a theme for verse than a personal emotion, as I know 
Your Highness and all the world are aware. ... I 
beg you to communicate this fine trick of Tebaldeo's 
invention to the Cardinals of Aragon [her uncle], of 
S. Maria in Portico [Bibbiena], and the Magnifico 
Giuliano, who will be no less wroth than I am for 
the sake of his dear Margherita, who is Isabella's 
sister. And because Giulio, in his examination, con- 
fessed that other scurrilous verses of the same kind 
were about to be published, I beg Your Highness to 
inform Tebaldeo that, if he does not abstain from such 
actions, he will soon feel the result of offending a 


sister of Your Excellency and of the Duke of Ferrara, 
as well as the wife of the Marquis of Mantua." ^ 
Nov. 4, 1513. 

Cardinal d'Este, who was one of Tebaldeo's chief 
patrons, does not seem to have taken the matter very 
seriously, and the poet's indiscretion did not prevent 
him from enjoying the favour of Pope Leo X. and 
the friendship of Raphael and Castiglione, of Bembo 
and Bibbiena during many years to come. There 
were others besides Tebaldeo who looked on Mario 
as a tiresome pedant, and the poet's sally probably 
provoked more laughter than wrath among the Mar- 
chesa's friends in Rome. Even the gentle Duchess 
Elisabetta seems to have considered Isabella's anger 
somewhat excessive, and used her gentle influence to 
soothe her sister-in-law's excited feelings. After con- 
doling with the Marchesa on her natural annoyance, 
and saying that no blame could possibly attach to 
Mario or to Isabella, of whom she was particularly 
fond, she went on : "I feel aU your sorrows, you 
know, as if they were my own, but really, in this 
case, the chief cause for regret seems to be the loss of 
so old and trusted a servant as Giulio. Mario's 
talents are too well known for envy to do him any 
harm, while Isabella's goodness is manifest to all, and 
this attack cannot sully her innocence. But who is 
there among us whose conduct is so perfect as to 
close the mouth of slanderers ? Their usual habit, I 
have often noticed, is to attack those who are the 
most praiseworthy and estimable. So I beg Your 
Excellency to trouble yourself no more on the sub- 
ject, but to allow the wrong to recoil on the heads of 

1 V. Cian in Giorn. St. d. Lett. It., viii. 


those who invent these slanders, and who, in my 
judgment, are sufficiently punished hy seein/r how 
hateful they become in the eyes of all virtuous and 
honest persons. I will only thank you once more for 
your loving words to me on this matter." ^ 

» V. Cian in Giom. St. d. iMt. It., viii. 



Invasion of Lombardy by the French — Their defeat by the Swiss 
at Novara — Isabella's journey to Milan stopped by the illness 
of the Marquis — Papal intrigues against Ferrara — Visit of 
Raimondo de Cardona to Mantua — Journey of Isabella to the 
Lago di Garda — Her letters from Lonato, Sermione, and 
Sal6 — Trissino presents his " Ritratti " to her — Portrait of the 
Marchesa introduced — Visit of Isabella to Milan and Pavia. 

The insecure nature of the young Duke of Milan's 
throne was soon shown. Hardly were the festivities 
in honour of his accession ended than Milan was 
attacked by a French army under La Tr^mouille 
and Trivulzio, and only saved by the timely arrival of 
a Swiss force, which defeated the invaders with great 
loss at Novara. The French beat a hurried retreat 
across the Alps, the Castello surrendered, and Maxi- 
milian Sforza was once more restored to power. But 
his weakness and incapacity, as well as the heavy taxes 
which he extorted from his unfortunate subjects, in 
order to pay the annual tribute demanded by his 
Swiss supporters, and gratify his own extravagant 
tastes, rendered his rule more and more unpopular. 
He began to look with unfounded suspicion on his 
younger brother Francesco, Duke of Bari, whose 
popularity with the Milanese had from the first 
excited his jealousy, and took every opportunity of 
keeping him away from court. ^ In spite, however, 

1 Prato, op. cit. 


of all his faults and follies, Isabella seems to have 
been genuinely fond of her nephew, and at his earnest 
request she consented to pay him another short visit 
that autumn, and set out on her journey to Milan in 
September. Her first halt was at Gazzuolo, where 
her cousins, Madonna Antonia's beautiful daughters, 
Susanna and Camilla, came out to meet her, and 
conducted her with every demonstration of respect 
and affection to the Rocca. Here she spent the 
evening very pleasantly, and Madonna Camilla first 
sang alone, accompanying herself on the viol " with 
infinite grace," and afterwards she and her sister both 
joined in duets. But when the Marchesa reached 
Casalmaggiore, she received such bad accounts of her 
husband's health that she altered her plans and re- 
turned to Mantua.^ All through the winter Fran- 
cesco Gonzaga was seriously ill, while his subjects 
suffered severely from the presence of the German 
and Venetian troops who overran his territory in 
search of shelter and provisions. The news from 
Rome also caused Isabella some uneasiness. The 
Pope was known to entertain ambitious schemes for 
the advancement of his family. Already, his nephew 
Lorenzo— the son of Piero dei Medici — was practi- 
cally despot of I'lorence, and King Ferdinand, it was 
openly said, had suggested that Giuliano should re- 
ceive the investiture of Ferrara. A visit which the 
Viceroy of Naples and his Spanish suite paid to 
Mantua that Carnival, had not removed the Marchesa's 
anxiety, and whether this was owing to the affair of 
Brognina or to political causes, Cardona had been 
unusually silent and taciturn. At the same time, 
the continued presence of the Spaniards in Lombardy 

^ A. Pedrazzoli in Arch. St. Lotiib., 1890. 


aroused the fears of the Marquis, who, instead of 
adding Peschiera to his dominions, was in constant 
dread of losing his own possessions on the Riviera of 
Garda. Under these circumstances, Isabella decided 
to take advantage of the first spring days to visit her 
husband's subjects in these regions, and left IMantua 
with a train of ninety -three persons and eighty horses 
on the 15th of March. The letters which she wrote 
to the Marquis during this fortnight's absence give a 
charming picture of her journey along the beautiful 
lake, and show us that, at the age of forty, Isabella's 
delight in natural beauty was as fresh and spontaneous, 
and her enjoyment of all the little incidents of travel as 
keen as when she was a bride of sixteen. 

From Goito she wrote, on the evening of her 
arrival, saying how she had been received by the 
Castellan of the Rocca, and after visiting his new- 
born child, had enjoyed a walk in the green meadows 
on the banks of the Mincio. The next day she dined 
at the villa of Cavriana, one of her favourite summer 
residences, and went on the same afternoon to Lonato, 
from which her next letter was written, on the 17th 
of March. 

*' I arrived here about six o'clock, having driven 
over from Cavriana in a chariot, and felt broken to 
pieces by jolting over the stones I But after a good 
night's rest, I have recovered, and am quite well this 
morning. A troop of horse rode out to meet me at 
Solferino, and further on I found one hundred foot 
soldiers and a number of children, with olive branches 
and banners bearing our arms, shouting your name 
and mine. The city gates were hung with evergreens 
and banners, and at the Town House, where I am 
staying, I found many ladies waiting to receive me. 


The chief citizens came this morning to pay me their 
respects, and express their regret that, owing to the 
time of year, tliey were unable to receive me with 
greater festivities. They defrayed all my expenses in 
the most liberal manner, and are good Gonzageschi 
who will never fail you. You can see into their 
hearts I I tell Your Excellency this, to confirm you 
in your good opinion of these loyal subjects. This 
morning I went to the Church of the Annunciation, 
which belongs to the Brothers Minor, and is a quiet 
and pleasant spot. After dinner I visited the Rocca, 
which I will not describe, as I know you have been 
there, but must tell you that I never saw a finer 
situation, and I made them tell me the names of all 
the countless towns which you can see from the top 
of the hill, to my great amusement I If you decide to 
build a villa there, you will be quite right, for it is the 
most delightful place in the world ! All my com- 
panions say the air is perfect, and Capilupi especially 
says that his head and eyes and ears, which have lately 
given him so much pain, feel better than they have 
done for long. From the Rocca I went by the gate 
of Cittadella, to the Church of S. Zeno, past the 
saw-mills, and enjoyed the sight of the clear stream 
and the vineyards and fields, which are so well 
cultivated that they seem to be all gardens. I came 
back into the town feeling the greatest satisfaction, and 
am sure, my dear Lord, if you could come and spend 
some days in this pure air, it would do you all the 
good in the world. To-morrow I dine at Maguzano 
with the venerable Fathers, and on Sunday hope to 
sup at Sermione. I am glad my letter pleased you, 
and am still more delighted to hear your new pills 
suit you. Pray let me know how they answer, and 


God grant they may do you lasting good I I thank 
Your Excellency with all my heart for the good news 
you give me regarding the safety of my brother the 
Duke, because I still felt alarmed at the Viceroy's 
taciturn manner. Now for a real miracle, without 
which I cannot end this letter ! Yesterday, when 
the salute was fired in honour of our entry, a ball of 
lead passed right through the cloak, vest, and shirt 
of Zanino Mereschalchi, mthout touching or hurting 
his arm or any part of his body. I think this is a 
good augury, and shows that you will keep this city 
which you value so much." ^ 

The next two letters were written from Sermione, 
the classic promontory sung by Catullus in Roman 
days. Isabella was enchanted, as might be expected, 
with the beauty of the spot, and with the wide view 
over the blue lake and mountains from the ancient 
citadel built by the Scaligeri princes in the fourteenth 

" Yesterday," she wrote on the 19th, " I went 
to Maguzano, and dined in that charming place, 
where the good Fathers entertained me very kindly, 
and I saw many fine mountains on the way back. 
To-day I came to Sermione, where these poor people 
received me joyfully, and Girolamo Archano took 
me over the Rocca and showed me the plan of the 
new lodgings which you think of building, and which 
will be very fine. Since you ask for my advice, I 
told Girolamo — merely to obey your wishes, since 
really nothing is wanting — to make another room in 
the tower, as he will tell you. I am sure you are 
right to build a dwelling-house here, for this place 
is simply the most beautiful in the world. I went 

^ A. Pedrazzoli, op. cit. 

VOL. II. a 


round the promontory in a boat, and see that the 
house will look very well from the lake, and mean 
to climb the hill to-morrow to consider the subject 
more closely. If I ever longed to see Your Excel- 
lency restored to health, I do so now, in order that 
you might be able to enjoy these dehcious scenes. 
But your letter of to-day troubles me sadly, and 
makes me fear that the pills have not done you as 
much good as you had hoped. But you must not 
be disappointed at this, because medicine does not 
act upon us as quickly as we expect ; and now the 
fine weather is coming, I feel sure that, with careful 
diet, your health will soon improve. God grant this 1 
I will not hide from you that I have taken bodily 
possession of this place. For in descending the steps 
of the Rocca, which were wet after a little shower 
of rain, my foot slipped and I fell three steps, without 
hurting myself in the least, and only laughed at the 
flowery speeches of the Vicar, who said that perhaps 
my fall was caused by my excessive admiration for the 
beauty of the view I Certainly the situation of the 
Rocca is splendid, but the rooms are so dark and 
small that I am obliged to lodge in the priest's house, 
where there is only one room in which I have to 
eat and sleep ; so you must make haste and build 
some fine lodgings. One of my maidens has also 
taken possession of Lonato I for the mule which 
Livia rode on the way from Maguzano ran away 
and she fell off, one foot remaining in the stirrup 
and the other in the air, so that she made a most 
ridiculous figure, and if the others had not come 
to her help quickly, she would have broken her 
neck. Thank God, she was not hurt 1 TraveUing 
would be very dull if such absurd accidents did not 


sometimes happen I My headache and sore throat 
are nearly gone. I hope to enjoy this lovely spot 
to-morrow, and Your Excellency may be sm-e that I 
shall be happy, and I thank you again for allowing 
me to come here, and for sending me good accounts 
of Federico and the other children." 

"To resume my tale," the Marchesa continued 
two days later: "Yesterday I climbed the hill to 
see the Roman ruins, and entered the grottoes to 
examine them thoroughly. They are truly marvel- 
lous, especially to some one hke myself who has not 
seen Rome, and I do not wonder that the Romans 
loved this place and chose it for their pleasure-houses, 
because it is most beautiful and worthy of noble 
villas. If God gives Your Excellency health, and 
we are able to come back together and enjoy these 
places in peace, we ought to build a Casino, not 
for the fame of the State, but for pleasure and de- 
lightful conversation. I spent all day on foot or 
horseback, contemplating the ruins or the view. 
To-day I have been to Peschiera, stopping to visit 
the sanctuary of the Madonna of the Ash-trees, who 
is said to work so many miracles. I saw many 
images and ex votos, and the beginnings of a fine 
church, in which I prayed earnestly for Your Ex- 
cellency's health. Afterwards I rode through the 
town and found the Castellan, a Spanish captain, 
who courteously took me into the Rocca, where, 
seeing that he had only twelve or fifteen men of 
small stature, I and my ladies could easily have 
taken him and his troops prisoners, and made myself 
mistress of the place, without much blasphemy on 
the part of the King of France or the Emperor, 
since the Spaniards hold it unjustly I The situation 


of Lonato, I repeat, is fine, that of Sermione is finer, 
but that of Peschiera is the finest of all. And so 
we must do our utmost to recover the place. I 
confess that I returned to Sermione in a fit of bad 
temper, which is not yet over, thinking of the great 
wrong which has been done us, and seeing how 
useless the place is to the Catholic king, and how 
pleasant and useful it would be to us. But I will 
say no more about this now. To-morrow I shall 
visit the island of the Friars Minor, and go on to 
sleep at Sal5. That Spanish Governor told me that 
I could easily find rooms there, and courteously 
invited me to visit the place. Afterwards, I shall 
return along this shore, while the weather is fine, 
although it is too early to find anjrthing to enjoy 
here, excepting the pure air. I would have sent 
you some fish, but know you do not eat it, nor any 
fruit, and indeed very little fish has been caught, 
and since I have been here I have not seen a single 
sardine. They say that the air is too clear and the 
winds are in the wrong quarter." 

The next day Isabella rowed across to the little 
island and saw the ancient church, built by St. 
Francis on the ruins of a temple of Jupiter, and 
crossed over to the picturesque Riviera, where the 
tall church and roofs of Salo nestle among orange 
and lemon groves, at the foot of Monte Pennino. 
On the 23rd, she gave the Marquis her usual account 
of her doings : — 

"Yesterday, as I told you, I went to the Isola 
dei Frati. The place and situation are both fine, 
but badly supplied with fruit and delicacies — how 
could it be otherwise? The Friars welcomed me 
warmly, and the captain of Salo, Guglielmo di 


Castiglio, a cliamberlain and creature of the Viceroy, 
came there to meet me with many followers and 
boats, and made me very courteous offers of service. 
I took him and another Spanish officer in my boat, 
and his own followed, with more than twenty-five 
others, all heavily laden. There was much beating 
of drums, and blowing of trumpets, and prolonged 
shouts of Turco ! Gonzaga ! Isabella ! They es- 
corted me to Sal6, and I rowed along under the 
shore to see the view, which is most beautiful. I 
landed at the Town-house, where the captain and 
a great crowd of people had already assembled, so 
much so, indeed, that I felt quite bewildered. All 
the citizens welcomed me with acclamation, and both 
in the hall of the Town-house and under a loggia on 
the shore of the lake were tables laden with baskets 
of apples, pears, fresh grapes, boxes of sweetmeats, 
marzipane, wax, confetti^ and dishes of every kind 
of fish, in large quantities. The chief citizens made 
me long and fine speeches, and I repUed with many 
compliments on behalf of Your Excellency, in whose 
name these honours were paid me, and perhaps some 
day we may find it useful to have them for our 
friends. After I reached my rooms, the captain, 
who had taken leave of me at the door, sent me a 
fine present of fish, apples, and fresh grapes. I did 
not remember him, but he says that he came to 
Mantua with the Viceroy, and again with Celindo 
(the Viceroy's chamberlain) to arrange Brognina's 
affair, and he was very courteous and pleasant. To- 
day I am staying here to see the place, and visit 
the convents of friars and sisters. To-morrow I 
shall drive to Grignano to see Tusculano and the 
other gardens, and if it is fine return by water. 


Saturday being the Feast of the Annunciation, I 
shall attend divine service with these sisters. On 
Sunday I mean to row across the lake and sleep 
at Laciso, to see the other shore, and on Monday I 
shall go to Peschiera, and so return to Mantua. I 
will say no more, only that each time I see another 
lovely spot, I wish most earnestly that you may be 
restored to health and come here with me. 

" P.S. — I have found nothing on this Riviera 
likely to please you, excepting some young kids, of 
which I send you four, hoping you will enjoy them 
for my sake. We shall eat the fish, as so few have 
been caught. The men of Sermione will take the 
kids alive to Mantua." 

It was at Sal5, on this sunny Lady-day, that 
Isabella received the gift of Giangiorgio Trissino's 
new volume of Ritratti, or Portraits of the Ladies of 
Italy, in which he pays her a splendid tribute.^ This 
learned Vicenza poet, the intimate friend of Bembo, 
and the foremost humanist of the day, first met the 
Marchesa at Milan in 1507, and received much kind- 
ness from her when he was driven from his native 
city by the cruel wars that ravaged Venetia. 

During these long years of exile, he often sought 
shelter at Mantua, and Isabella recommended him 
alike to Cardinal Gurk and to her brother and friends 
in Rome. Trissino was deeply attached to Margherita 
Pia, the sister of Emilia Pia and of Alda, the mother 
of Veronica Gambara, and after the death of her first 
husband, Antonio di Sanseverino, wooed this charm- 
ing lady during many years. But although she was 
sincerely attached to Trissino, and called herself a 
Margherita infelicissima in his absence, she refused to 

^ B, Morsolin, V^ita di G. G. Trissino. 


marry again, and ended her days in a convent at 
Carpi. The poet had another patron in Isabella's 
devoted friend, Margherita Cantelma, the widowed 
Duchess of Sora, who had accompanied her on this 
occasion to Garda. As they travelled along the 
shores of the fair lake, Margherita told the Marchesa 
of the new book which the Vicentine poet had com- 
posed — a symposium in the style of Castiglione's 
Cortigiano on the fair women of ancient and modern 
times. The scene is laid in the Cantelma Palace at 
Ferrara, and one of the speakers, Vincenzo Magr^, 
after enumerating the beauties of Milan and Ferrara, 
Florence and Vicenza, paints a glowing picture of an 
unknown lady whom he saw descend from her chariot 
in the streets of Milan and go into the Duomo with 
a prayer-book open in her hand. " Neither Man- 
tegna, nor Vinci, nor yet Apelles could ever do her 
justice. Petrarch has best described her in his lines : 
Una Donna piii bella assai che'l sole. So she dawned 
upon my eyes, a lady more radiant than the sun, with 
golden hair falling on her shoulders, loosely caught up 
in a tan-coloured silk net, with knots of fine gold, 
through which her locks shone like bright rays of 
light ; a sparkling ruby and large pearl glittered on 
her forehead, a rope of pearls hung from her neck to 
her waist, her black velvet robe was embroidered in 
gold — in short, everything she wore was the work of 
the finest craftsmen." Here the second speaker, who 
is no less a personage than Pietro Bembo, the prince 
of humanists, breaks in : " Say no more ! I know the 
lady of whom you speak — Madonna, the Marchesa of 
Mantova, who is honoured and loved by the whole 
world. But you have only seen her once, while I 
have often spoken with her, and can tell of her 


sweetness and goodness, and virtues, which are far 
beyond tlie adorning of gold and jewels. I have 
heard her voice, which, in the words of Petrarch, is a 
thing chiara, soave, angelica, e divina. It would have 
charmed Orpheus and Amphion themselves by its 
entrancing sweetness. . . . And if you had once heard 
her sing to the lute you would, like the Sirens, forget 
home and country to follow its enchanted melody. 
. . . Truly, God has given her all the gifts of all the 
Muses, all the treasures of Castaly and Parnassus ; 
but, above all, she loves poetry, as is meet for a prin- 
cess who reigns over the land of Virgil." After this, 
he goes on to praise the beauty of her home, its fair 
and stately fabric adorned with superb hangings, the 
charming little rooms full of rare books and beautiful 
pictures, of antique and modern sculpture, of cameos, 
medals, and gems, and ends by declaring her worthy 
to rank with the wisest women of ancient Hellas, 
with Nausicaa and Sappho and Corinna, with Penelope 
and Alcestis.^ 

Isabella's curiosity was naturally much excited 
when she heard from her friend's Hps of Trissino's 
work, and Margherita wrote to desire the poet to send 
it to her without delay. So the precious manuscript, 
richly bound and accompanied by a letter and dedi- 
catory epistle in verse, reached the Marchesa at Salo 
on the Feast of the Annunciation, and she ac- 
knowledged the gift in a grateful letter written on 
the same day : — 

" Magnifico Amico, — Your letter, verses, and Uttle 
book could not have found us in a fairer and more 
appropriate spot than this Riviera di Garda, where we 
now are, able to give ourselves wholly to poetry and 

* G. Trissino, Ritratti. 


meditation. We accept them gladly, both as your 
composition, and, in our opinion, most elegant and 
ingenious, although indeed your praises of us far 
exceed the truth. But, as the common proverb says, 
' If you do not speak the truth, none the less your 
words please me,' and we shall count them dear as 
coming from so learned and noble a writer, and will 
not pubUsh the secret of their authorship to others, 
since this is your wish, as it is also our own. We 
should like you to alter some particulars in the de- 
scription of our person, which we will point out when 
we meet. We wish that you could have brought 
the book to us yourself, because we are exceedingly 
anxious to see you and enjoy your company before 
you go to Rome, but the coming of the Spaniards to 
Mantua for the Carnival, and our journey to this lake, 
prevented us from sending you an invitation, while 
preparations for your visit to Rome hindered you 
from coming to see us. But another time we will 
take care that your pleasure shall be ours, and your 
convenience agreeable to us. We wish you a good 
journey, and if we can in any way obhge you, do not 
scruple to ask our good offices, which will be always 
at your disposal. We do not now send you anything 
in return for your beautiful book, having nothing 
worthy of you, but Your Magnificence knows that 
the heart feels more than the tongue can speak, and 
later on we shall hope to thank you in person. Mean- 
while, you will hear of us more fully from Signora 
INIargherita Cantelma, and since we do not know how 
your affairs at Vicenza are prospering, you must tell 
us if we can help you, and may always depend on our 
goodwill. Benevalete"^ Salo, 25th March 1514. 

* A. Pedrazzoli, op. cit. ; B. Morsolin, op. cit. 


On the same evening, Isabella sent her husband 
the following lively letter, in which politics and grave 
questions of state are mingled with amusing accounts 
of her own experiences and adventures : — 

" Your Excellency acts Uke a prudent doctor, and 
gives me pink sugar to take away the bitter taste of 
your medicine 1 If my stomach was upset by the last 
news you sent me, your letter of yesterday has quite 
settled it again. I am truly glad to hear that the 
Duke of Milan's affairs are in a less dangerous con- 
dition than you feared, and that those of my brother 
the Duke have come safely into port, and also that 
the Pope appears to be so well-disposed towards our 
own State. I thank Your Excellency exceedingly, 
and kiss your hand and lips for sending me all this 
good news, which will make me enjoy this beautiful 
land more than ever, thanks to your goodness and 
kindness. Yesterday I was at Grignano, where the 
inhabitants entertained me with gifts of fish and 
pomegranates, and also with a long Italian oration 
delivered by a tiresome pedant in the most ornate 
language. Nor let Your Signory imagine that this 
was the first, although it certainly was the most 
wonderful, to which I have had to hsten. At 
Lonato, I heard three : two in Italian, spoken by the 
citizens, and one in Latin, delivered by a child of 
seven ! At Sermione, two more from the Sindaco of 
the Commune, and a third from the Vicar. Here at 
Salo, two of medium excellence — neither too exquisite 
nor yet too vulgar — but more useful, since they were 
accompanied by a fine present, as I told Your Ex- 
cellency. All along this Riviera they receive me 
with royal honours, as a Magnifica Signora ! I spent 
to-day visiting churches and convents, and attended 


high mass at the chief church, which is much finer 
than any of ours in Mantua, and has a large college 
of priests and singers. This is reaUy a dehghtful 
place, and I do not wonder that Rouen (Cardinal 
d'Amboise) appropriated it to his own use, and that 
Gurk, out of rivalry, tried to acquire it for himself ! 
I have enjoyed the lovely scenery and fine air of aU 
these places extremely, and the weather has been very 
kind to me, but all the more delicate fruit trees have 
been killed by the severity of the two last winters. I 
fill the sheet with these trifles, because I have nothing 
better to say I To-morrow we go back to Sermione, 
and have given up Laciso, because the accommodation 
is too bad. Then we shall return to Mantua, where 
I trust I may find Your Excellency in better health 
than when you wrote last, as I still hope that this 
spring weather may do you good. And may God 
have mercy on you ! " 

The next day Isabella rowed back across the 
lake to Sermione, since it was impossible to find 
lodgings for so large a suite in the villages on the 
eastern side of the lake, at the foot of Monte Baldo. 
From here she wrote a last letter to her husband : — 

" I read your letter of yesterday, in reply to mine, 
with great pleasure, since you speak of some improve- 
ment in your health, and hope, now that the spring 
has come and you can take change of air, you will go 
on improving steadily. This afternoon I came here, 
and have been more enthusiastically welcomed than 
ever by the poor people, who came out in their boats 
and small crafts, hung with laurels, to meet me, and 
greeted me with much shouting and ringing of bells. 
Certainly these poor feUows show great affection for 
Your Excellency. If I had allowed it, they would 


have entertained me entirely at their own expense. 
The governor of the Commune accompanied me to 
Sal6 with two boats, and kept them there for the use 
of my household, and now they have made me a fresh 
present of fish. I tell Your Excellency this, to show 
you how loving and faithful they are. To-day has 
not been without its event, for this evening my page, 
Rodolfo, was about to jump from the bridge of the 
Rocca to the drawbridge, when a wooden post sud- 
denly gave way and he fell into the moat. Luckily 
I saw him fall, and had a pole thrown down, by which 
he kept himself from sinking till a rope could be let 
dovni to draw him up, and this prompt help, together 
with his own agility, saved his life. He was not in 
the least hurt, but it was fortunate I was near the 
bridge, or perhaps no one would have seen him 
fall. To-morrow I spend here, Tuesday we go to 
Gdito, and on Wednesday hope to be back at 
Mantua." ^ 

Isabella had not been at home many weeks before 
pressing invitations reached her from her nephew 
Maximilian, who declared if she did not come this 
time, he would appear at Mantua with his Swiss 
troops, and carry her off by force. At length, she 
obtained her husband's leave to pay him her long- 
deferred visit, and in the early summer days she set 
out for Milan with a great train of ladies and courtiers. 
The whole city turned out to meet her, and greeted 
her with enthusiastic acclamations as she rode up 
through the gates where the Moro and Beatrice had 
often welcomed her, into the Castello of the Sforzas. 
Here the Duke entertained her as before with a round 
of festivities, and took her with him to Pavia, which 

^ A. Peilrazzoli, op. cit. 


she had not seen since those brilliant days of old. It 
was for the last time ; Maximilian's throne was 
already tottering to its fall, and before the year was 
over he had been driven into exile, and the victor 
of Marignano was reigning in his stead. 



Isabella's visit to Rome — Her reception by Cardinal Bibbiena and 
Giuliano dei Medici — Fetes in her honour — Representation 
of "La Calandria" in the Vatican — Her visit to Naples — 
Leo X. keeps her in Rome for the carnival — Her return to 
Mantua and regrets for Rome — Francis I, attacks Milan — 
Victory of Marignano — Abdication of Maximilian Sforza — 
Federico Gonzaga at the French Court — Death of Giuliano — 
Conquest of Urbino by Lorenzo dei Medici — Flight of the 
Duke and Duchesses to Mantua. 

In the autumn of 1514, one of Isabella's most cherished 
and long-delayed wishes was at length fulfilled, and 
for the first time in her life she went to Rome. Since 
the accession of Leo X. she had received pressing 
invitations from her friends. Cardinal Bibbiena and 
Pietro Bembo, but had been compelled to defer her 
visit owing to Francesco's ill-health. During that 
summer, however, his condition showed some signs 
of improvement, while the alarming rumours which 
came from Rome of the Pope's designs against 
Ferrara and Urbino increased Isabella's anxiety to 
cultivate the PontifTs friendship. Accordingly she 
started for Rome early in October, and was met at 
Bolsena by Giuliano dei Medici, Cardinal Bibbiena, 
and rUnico Aretino. Since his brother Pietro 
Accolti's elevation to the Cardinalate, the vanity of 
this popular improvisatore knew no bounds. He 
spoke openly of that prelate as the next Pope, and 



announced that he himself would not be satisfied 
with anything short of the crown of Naples and the 
hand of the widowed Duchess. On this occasion he 
declared that he held a papal bull empowering him 
to act as commissioner in bringing the Marchesa 
to Rome ; upon which Bibbiena and Giuliano en- 
deavoured to mystify him by pointing out first one 
lady of Isabella's suite, then another, as the Marchesa, 
Until he was about to give up the search in despair. 
When at length he discovered the trick which his 
companions had played upon him, he broke into a 
furious passion, and his rage excited the merriment of 
the whole company. 

On the 18th of October, Isabella entered Rome, 
and received the most cordial welcome from Pope 
Leo and all the members of the Sacred College. 
During the next six weeks her time was spent in 
visiting the remains of ancient Rome and the wonders 
of the Vatican. She saw with her own eyes the 
statues of which she had heard so much from 
Cristoforo Romano and Bembo and her own son 
Federico, and realised all that Castiglione and 
Bibbiena had said of the sublime greatness of Michel 
Angelo's creations and of the surpassing grace 
and perfection of Raphael's art. She chmbed the 
Capitol with the thought of Mantegna's Triumphs 
in her heart, and looked down from the Loggia of 
the Belvedere on the purple plains of the Cam- 
pagna and the Alban Hills. She knelt with deep 
devotion at the shrine of the Prince of the Apostles, 
and walked in Angelo Colocci's famous gardens 
on the slopes of the Pincio and Quirinal, attended 
by the foremost scholars of the day. Bembo and 
Bibbiena, Sadoleto and Castiglione were the com- 


panions of her daily walks and rides in the Eternal 
City. The learned librarian of the Vatican, Tommaso 
Inghirami, the Pheedrus of the humanists, became 
one of the Marchesa's greatest admirers, while Colocci 
discussed Provencal poetry with her, and asked her to 
accept a copy of his rare book on the Limousin poets. 
Chigi entertained her at magnificent feasts in his new 
villa, where the costliest wines and rarest delicacies 
were served on the most exquisitely wrought gold 
and silver plate, in halls adorned by the first painters 
of the day. There Isabella saw Raphael's beautiful 
fresco of the milk-white Galatea driving her chariot 
on the waves, which was the wonder and delight of all 
the humanists in Rome and Urbino. And Raphael 
himself was in all Hkelihood the Marchesa's guide 
among the excavations, and showed her the wonder- 
ful paintings and stuccoes which had been lately 
brought to light in the Baths of Titus and the Golden 
House of Nero. Isabella certainly met the great 
master, who was then at the height of his fame and 
had recently been appointed architect of St. Peter's 
by the Pope. And as he talked with her of the old 
days of Urbino, of his father, who had painted her 
portrait, and of his first patrons, the good Duke and 
Duchess, she begged him with a charming smile 
to paint a little Madonna for her whenever he had 
a few spare moments. Of course Raphael, who was 
" la gentilezza stessa" promised gladly, and then 
went back to his frescoes and buildings and his 
plans of ancient Rome, and forgot all about the 
Marchesa and her picture. 

Cardinals and princes vied with each other in 
doing their illustrious guest honour, and entertained 
her at sumptuous banquets or dainty little suppers, 


where the Aretine recited his latest verses and the 

Pope's pet buffoon, Fra Mariano, indulged in those 

mad freaks that afforded His Holiness such infinite 

amusement and made his guests laugh till the tears 

ran down their cheeks. But the most memorable of 

all the entertainments that were given in Isabella's 

honour was the representation of Cardinal Bibbiena's 

•' Calandria " before the Pope in the Vatican.^ This 

comedy had been acted for the first time at Urbino 

on the 6th of February 1513, under the direction of 

Castiglione, who himself described the performance in 

a well-known letter to Cardinal Lodovico di Canossa. 

The play, an evident imitation of the " Mensechmi " 

of Plautus, deals with the ridiculous adventures of a 

twin brother and sister, whose love intrigues and 

mistakes afford plenty of material for that broad farce 

in which the Cardinal's contemporaries took unfaihng 

dehght. On this occasion the scenery was painted 

by the Siena master, Baldassarre Peruzzi, and was of 

the most elaborate kind. Vasari expatiates on the 

beauty and variety of the spectacle, on the streets, 

palaces, temples, loggias, and piazzas, all in admirable 

perspective, that were cleverly introduced into this 

limited space, in such a manner as to give the 

impression of a city of great size and extent. The 

interludes of ballets and tableaux, transformation 

scenes and allegorical representations were planned 

on the most gorgeous scale, and the music of flutes 

and viols and sweet voices of the singers were blended 

exquisitely with the melodies of the Pope's new organ, 

that splendid instrument which had been recently 

made for him and brought to Home by Lorenzo da 


1 D'Ancona, op. cit., ii. 88. 


Towards the end of November, Isabella paid a 
visit to Naples, and saw the stately palaces and de- 
licious gardens of that ftiir city where her grandfather, 
uncles, and cousin had reigned in turn, and which 
was now the home of the Spanish Viceroy. The 
only member of her mother's family whom she found 
here was her old friend and cousin, Isabella of 
Aragon, the widowed Duchess of Milan, with her sole 
surviving daughter. Bona Sforza. It was probably 
owing to Isabella d'Este's intervention that this 
young princess was betrothed about this time to 
her cousin, Maximilian, the young Duke of Milan. 
But this proposed union, which gave her mother 
unfeigned joy, never took place, and three years after 
Maximilian's exile. Bona married the King of Poland, 
and went to hve at Cracow. This youthful princess 
always retained an affectionate remembrance of the 
Marchesa, and in 1522, wrote to thank Isabella for 
sending her the specimens of latest Milanese finery 
and Mantuan news, addressing her as "the fount 
and origin of all the beautiful fashions in Italy." ^ 

In spite of these altered conditions Isabella greatly 
enjoyed the weeks which she spent at Naples, and 
was feted alike by Neapolitan princes and Spanish 
grandees. In the following short letter to her 
beloved Federico she briefly alludes to some of the 
gaieties with which her days are filled : — 

"To my dearest and eldest son Federico. Your 
letter of the 22nd gave me great pleasure. I am 
glad to see that your generous spirit yields to none 
in point of courtesy, and that you follow your illus- 
trious father's example by being splendid and liberal. 
I can only exhort you to persevere in the same 

1 Luzio in Arch. St. Lomb., I90I, p. 171. 


course, which will be to us a source of continual 
joy. For an account of our amusements here, I 
must refer you to Benedetto Capilupi's letter, in 
which all my doings are fully described. To-day I 
have made him give an account of the banquet 
that was given us by the Count of Chiaramonte, 
son of the Prince of Bisignano. We wished you 
could have been present to see how gallantly he 
entertained me, and realise how fine a thing it is 
to serve ladies and be able to turn your hand to 
everything at the right time. Keep well, and 
embrace your brothers and sisters for me."^ Naples, 
November 8, 1514. 

Among the nobles by whom the Marchesa was 
splendidly entertained were Fabrizio Colonna, who 
had not forgotten the generous treatment shown 
him by Alfonso d'Este after the battle of Ravenna, 
and his daughter Vittoria's husband, the Marchese 
di Pescara. This brilliant young soldier had re- 
peatedly visited his wife's relatives at Mantua, and 
had received great kindness from Isabella. More 
than this, he was deeply enamoured of her charming 
maid-of-honour, Delia, whom he had lately met at 
Milan, and who was now at Naples with her mistress. 
This attachment, which Pescara's noble and de- 
voted wife seems never to have suspected, proved 
more lasting than most liaisons of the kind. The 
Marquis kept up an active correspondence with 
Delia, and sent her love letters of the most passionate 
nature. In February 1522, when he was lying 
wounded in the Rocchetta at Milan, he wrote 
to Mario Equicola praying to be commended 
to the Marchesa, whose hand he longs to kiss, 

1 D'Arco, Notizie d' Isabella, p, 317. 


and adds : " Of Delia I dare say nothing, since I 
have served her so long." Again in May he speaks 
of her in a letter from Naples, saying : " God grant 
that I may see her once more before I die." ^ 
If Vittoria ever became aware of the Marchese's 
passion for Isabella's fair maid -of -honour, the 
knowledge certainly never altered her love for her 
husband, to whom she remained absolutely devoted, 
and whose premature death in 1525, she mourned 
with the truest and most enduring sorrow. 

Meanwhile the Marchesa's return was eagerly 
awaited in Rome, where, by the Pope's orders, a 
series of new comedies was prepared for her amuse- 
ment, one of them being the " Andria " of Terence, 
which had been twice performed at Mantua in 
1513. But it seems doubtful if the idea of re- 
peating the " Calandria," to which Agostino Gonzaga 
alludes in a letter of the 15th of December, was 
carried out. By the Pope's command, Pietro 
Bembo wrote to the Marquis of Mantua in January, 
begging him to allow the Marchioness to remain 
at Rome for the carnival fetes, a request which 
Francesco felt himself unable to refuse. His Holi- 
ness had his way, and all the Cardinals rejoiced 
" Here," wrote Pietro Bembo, " we have had the 
gayest of carnivals, thanks to the presence of the 
Signora Marchesana." ^ Isabella's society, as the 
Pope and his pleasure - loving Cardinals declared, 
supplied the one element that was lacking at the 
papal court. "All Rome," wrote Cardinal Bib- 
biena to Giuliano dei Medici, who had gone to 
France to wed a princess of Savoy — "all Rome 

1 Luzio, F. Colonna Rivista Mantovana, 1881. 

2 Lettered iii. 47. 


says that nothing is wanting here but a Madonna 
to hold a court." The wedding, which had been 
delayed by the death of Louis XI L on the 1st of 
January, was solemnised in February, and the Pope 
was anxious that Isabella should remain in Rome 
to assist at the festivities in honour of the newly- 
married pair. But her sick husband was growing 
restless and impatient at his wife's prolonged absence, 
and as soon as the carnival fetes were over, the 
Marchesa tore herself reluctantly away from Rome 
and turned homewards. On the way she spent a 
few days at Florence, where she was sumptuously 
entertained at the Pope's expense, and lodged in the 
Medici Palace. After this she travelled by rapid 
stages to Ferrara, and reached Mantua on the 
18th of March. That evening she wrote a letter 
full of regrets and affectionate messages to 
Bibbiena : — 

"I am here in Mantua, but all my heart is in 
Rome. At least 1 can feel that I have obeyed 
and satisfied my husband. But only think how 
different these Httle rooms and the life I lead here 
are from the Vatican halls and the life which I led in 
Rome I My body, as I repeat, is here, but my soul 
is there ! In spirit I am still taking walks with 
you, enjoying your conversation and that of the 
other Lord Cardinals, and kissing the feet of His 
Holiness. With such fond imaginations I try and 
deceive myself, and spend the time with less ennui, 
while I await an occasion to serve Your Most 
Reverend Highness, in return or at least in recog- 
nition of the infinite obligations which your kindness 
has laid upon me." ^ 

^ Luzio e Renier, Mantova e Urbino, p. 215. 


Many were the gifts which she sent to Bembo 
and Bibbiena during the next few months — 
dishes of salmon-trout from Garda, and boxes 
of the rare perfumes which excited the envy 
of all Bembo's friends. But the most singular 
present, and one of those which these luxurious 
Monsignori appreciated the most, was a quilt of 
choice feathers and richly embroidered satin, which 
the Marchesa sent to Cardinal Bibbiena that 
autumn. In December, Bembo wrote begging her, 
as she loved her old friend, to give him a similar 
quilt, that he may enjoy the same refreshing slumber 
and dream the same happy dreams. To this valued 
gift the Cardinal alludes in a long and intimate 
letter, which shows that Isabella had not neglected 
any opportunities of pleading her brother's cause 
and advancing the interests of her husband's State 
during the gay Carnival that she spent in Rome. 
In the course of this letter, which was written from 
Florence when in the following spring he accompanied 
Leo X. to his native city, Bibbiena says : — 

"Your Excellency, in her kind and courteous 
letter, tells me that she has so much idle time on 
her hands that she is ready to make a present of 
it to the first comer, which seems a difficult thing to 
believe, knowing as I do that even if you had no 
other occupation than your own wise and charming 
thoughts, you could never be idle. In truth, like 
that old Roman (was it Scipio ?) who was never less 
alone than when alone. Your Excellency may say 
you are never idle when you are most idle. I showed 
your letter to His Holiness, who read it very gladly, 
and with more praises of you than I can possibly 
express, saying that the affairs of your brother, the 


Duke, were already arranged according to your de- 
sire, and could not be altered. Towards this happy 
settlement His Holiness was from the first so 
naturally inclined that there has been little need 
of my intervention. But I will not deny that, 
besides his personal inclination, the great respect 
and affection with which His Holiness regards Your 
Excellency has considerably helped to bring about 
this fortunate result. I will obey Your Excellency 
with regard to what you mentioned to me in Rome, 
and will not breathe a syllable to any one, but wait 
until you think the right moment has come. As 
for your illustrious son, I really believe he wiU 
turn out as well as you desire, thanks to your 
prudence and loving exhortations and to his own 
excellent nature. I am delighted to hear of Your 
Excellency's high credit and favour with your illus- 
trious husband, which must give you the greatest 
satisfaction. I rejoice greatly over this, but beg 
you not to make too large demands on his 
favour, lest you should some day hve to repent of 
it. I am also very glad to hear the said Signore 
your husband is better, and pray that God may 
restore him completely to health, so that Your Ex- 
cellency may be the better able to enjoy his affection. 
The feather quilt which Your Excellency sent me 
could not be more acceptable than it is, both on 
account of its rare delicacy and beauty, and still 
more because it comes from you. Certainly I have 
never slept better in my life, and I should not forswear 
myself were I to swear to Your Excellency that not 
a single night passes in which I do not remember 
you 1 His Holiness hopes that you will send him the 
one of which you speak in your letter, and really 


likes the idea of the gift extremely, so that Your 
Excellency may safely have it made and sent to 
Rome at once. The fact is, you may, I assure 
you, treat His Holiness with as much friendhness as 
you would Monsignore your brother, since it is cer- 
tain you are as dear to him as a sister or daughter. 
And you need never be afraid of tiring me with 
your letters, which are so delightful that, if I 
were not the most discreet of persons, I should 
beg you to let me hear from you every day ! 
But since you write to me with your own hand, I 
will not venture on such a request — not that I do 
not wish for your letters greatly, but that I fear to 
tire Your Excellency. Isabella's messages give me 
supreme satisfaction, since I have always loved and 
shall love Isabella more than myself, whether or not 
she herself loves Mario I " ^ 

When the Marchesa received this witty letter the 
joys of her visit to Rome already lay far behind her. 
The year which began so gaily had brought heavy sor- 
rows and anxieties in its train, and it needed all her 
foresight and prudence to cope with the difficulties in 
her way. The accession of a young and martial king 
to the throne of France had worked a complete revo- 
lution in Italian affairs, and the disastrous defeat of 
the Swiss at Marignano had sealed the doom of the 
luckless Maximilian Sforza. On the 4th of October 
1515, he surrendered the Castello, and abdicated his 
throne in favour of Francis I., who allowed him to 
live in France on a comfortable pension. The event 
can hardly have surprised the Marchesa, who by this 
time can have had no illusions as to her nephew's 
weakness and incapacity; but she stiU retained a 

^ Luzio e Renier, op. cit., App. v. 


kindly feeling for the unfortunate youth, and from 
his exile at Amboise he sent her a letter by the 
hand of his Master of the Horse assuring her of his 
welfare and unalterable affection, and calling her his 
second mother. " I am well, thank God, and as 
happy as my friends can wish to see me, and thought I 
would inform Your Excellency of this, since, knowing 
that you love me as you do, this will give you pleasure. 
— Your obedient nephew and son, Maximilian."^ 
October 6, 1516. 

Isabella's chief anxiety now was to make friends 
with the victor, and Francis I. on his part was no 
less eager to see the brilliant Marchesa. She, how- 
ever, declined his pressing invitation, pleading her 
lord's ill-health as an excuse, and decided to send 
her son, Federico, to do homage to the young- 
king in his father's stead. The three years which 
Federico had spent at the court of Julius II. 
had not been thrown away. If his Roman experi- 
ences can hardly be said to have exerted a 
beneficial effect on his morals, they had made him 
a finished courtier, graceful and attractive in person, 
quick and ready of speech, as well as wise and cautious 
beyond his years. Since his return he had pursued 
his studies during two years and a half in the charge 
of his excellent tutor, Vigilio, under the eye of his 
careful mother. Amid all the attractions and excite- 
ments of Rome, Isabella never forgot the boy whose 
welfare lay so near her heart, and received constant 
reports of his progress from good Messer Francesco. 

" During Your Highness's absence," he writes on 
the 5th of February 1515, "your son, my master 
Signor Federico, has not failed to attend my instruc- 
tions twice a day. It is true that he cannot keep 

1 Luzio. Arch. St. I^mh., 1901, p. l68. 


up his attention for more than an hour, or a little 
longer, but during this time he is really attentive 
and diligent. We have gone through the abridged 
history of Livy, and he has translated two books of 
Valerius with me at hand to help him when he 
seemed puzzled, and now he knows Roman history 
and the laws and constitution of the State so well, 
that he can sometimes remind me of things that I 
have forgotten, and even find me the passage I 
require. I have taught him a work of Ovid, In Ibim, 
full of little-known stories and fables, and he seems 
particularly fond of history, which I think is especially 
useful for a prince. I have also read some beautiful 
elegies with him. He does not find verses easy, 
although he knows how to scan them, but he con- 
strues orations very easily. Every day I dictate 
some Epistles to him, which he writes correctly — 
unless he makes an accidental slip — and every day I 
expound an Epistle of Cicero to him, in order that 
he may acquire a good style. In the grammar 
examination he answered my questions more quickly 
and better than any of the other boys. I have made 
him run through Petrarch, as good practice in read- 
ing, and he himself has chosen to read some books 
of the Orlando, on which he often spends as much 
as two hours at a time. This is our method of 
learning letters. As for his conduct in other ways, 
I see nothing in him which does not lead me to hope 
for a glorious and honourable career, and although 
the natural ardour of youth inclines him to love, 
his conduct in this respect persuades me that he 
will avoid the licence which is displeasing both to 
God and men. I earnestly entreat Your Excel- 
lency to condescend to help my labours with your 


exhortations. — Your devoted servant, Jo. Franc. 


The excellent tutor's description of Federico's 
tastes and habits agrees with all we know of this 
prince in after life. Without ever attaining to his 
mother or brother Ercole's love of learning, he was 
decidedly more cultured than his father or Gonzaga 
uncles, and from his boyhood he inherited the Estes' 
passion for chivalrous romances, of which he made 
a large collection in future years. Now, at the age 
of fifteen, he asked nothing better than to leave his 
books and seek fresh experiences at the gay court of 
Milan. Here he found a gracious reception and was 
invited to accompany Francis I. to Vigevano. The 
Venetian envoy, Contarini, describes Federico as a 
handsome and graceful boy, who entertained the 
young patricians in his suite at a feast that was 
equally remarkable for good cheer and good com- 
pany, and sent them away charmed with his courtesy 
and amazed at his feats of horsemanship. The young 
prince took an active part in the royal hunting 
parties and games at palla. His letters to his mother 
give a lively picture of His Most Christian Majesty 
joining in the game of palla in as vigorous a fashion 
as any football player of to-day, giving and receiving 
blows in the scuffle, knocking over his courtiers, 
and coming into violent collision with the tall and 
athletic Gonzaga prince, Federico of Bozzolo, amidst 
the laughter of the bystanders. But Isabella's son, 
who had barely two hundred ducats in his purse, 
found it quite impossible to accept the king's invita- 
tion to play cards with him, and win or lose hundreds 
of ducats in a single game.^ 

* M. Sanuto, Diarii, xxi. 296, 329. 


The young king was much fascinated by the 
beauty and rich attire of the Milanese ladies, and de- 
sired Federico to ask his mother, of whose taste and 
charms he heard so much, to send him a wax doll 
clad in the Mantuan style, with the pattern of 
robe, vest and sleeves worn by herself, and hair 
dressed in the same fashion, so that the French 
ladies might be able to copy them. Isabella re- 
plied : " We will gladly send a figure arrayed m 
all the fashions that we wear on our backs and heads, 
to please His Most Christian Majesty, but fear he 
will see nothing new, as here we dress exactly in 
the same style as the Milanese ladies."^ It was a 
more serious matter when Francis I. expressed the 
keenest curiosity to see Brognina, the fair but frail 
maid-of-honour whose flirtations had already excited 
so many quarrels, and actually sent the Bishop of 
Nice with a forged papal brief to bring her from the 
convent at Gdito. Fortunately a band of Spanish 
cavaliers, whose help Brognina implored, waylaid the 
party, and compelled this worthless prelate to beat an 
ignominious retreat.^ In spite of this discreditable 
affair, Federico succeeded in retaining the king's 
favour, and Isabella consented reluctantly to allow 
her son to return with him to France in January. 
On this journey, as before, Federico was accom- 
panied by his trusted servant, Stazio Gadio, 
who in his letters to the Marchesa describes the 
king's entry into Marseilles, where the life of St. 
Louis was represented in a series of tableaux. At 
Aix, scenes from the Old Testament were performed 
in his honour, while at Avignon Federico witnessed a 

1 Luzio, Nuova Antologia, 1896, p. 4i66. 

2 Luzio in Arch. St. Lomb., 1901, p. l67. 


dance of Jews and Jewesses, and a curious representa- 
tion in which three figures, clad as St. Peter, Martha, 
and Mary Magdalene, came out to welcome the 
king's return, as of old " they had rejoiced over the 
resurrection of Lazarus ! " During the next spring 
and summer, Federico remained at the French court, 
and accompanied Francis I. to Blois, Amboise, and 
his other royal chateaux. 

But if all fear of danger from this quarter was 
removed, the Marchesa watched with increasing 
anxiety the development of the Pope's ambitious 
designs against Urbino. In June 1515, the baton of 
Papal Gonfaloniere was suddenly withdrawn from 
Francesco Maria and bestowed upon Giuhano dei 
Medici, and although Leo X. assured the Duke of 
Urbino of his unchanging friendship, not even Bib- 
biena's protestations could remove Isabella's suspi- 
cions. The Pope's duplicity in the matter has been 
abundantly proved, and when Francis I. came to 
meet him at Bologna in December, before his return 
to France, he reluctantly consented to sacrifice 
Urbino in return for the restoration of Parma and 
Piacenza. As long, however, as his brother Giuliano 
lived, Leo X. refrained from action. This prince 
could not forget the debt of gratitude which he 
owed to the ducal family and the ties of old friend- 
ship and affection which bound him to the Gonzagas 
and Delia Roveres, and when the Pope came to see 
him at Fiesole in his last illness, he begged him with 
his dying breath not to attack the Duke of Urbino. 
But Leo only told him to get well and not trouble 
himself about such matters.^ On the 19th of Feb- 
ruary the Pope returned to Rome, and Bibbiena, who 

1 Alberi, Relazioni Venete, series iii. 2 ; Dennistoun, ii. 346, &c. 


remained at Fiesole, wrote to Isabella, saying that he 
had given his dying friend her kind messages, but 
that he feared there was little hope of the Duke's 
recovery. A month later GiuUano died — on the 17th 
of March — lamented by all the friends of his family as 
the best of the Medici. His office of Gonfaloniere of 
the Church was immediately bestowed on his nephew, 
Lorenzo, and the Duke of Urbino was summoned to 
appear in Rome and answer a long list of charges, 
including the murder of Cardinal AUdosi, under Pope 
Juhus II. 

In vain young Federico Gonzaga interceded with 
Francis I. on his brother-in-law's behalf; in vain the 
widowed Duchess Elisabetta herself hastened to 
Rome to see the Pope, and remind Lorenzo of the 
days when his father had sought refuge at Urbino, 
and she had nursed him in her own arms. His 
Holiness received her with the greatest cordiality, 
the Cardinals flocked to pay her court, and Bembo 
once more assured her of his unalterable devotion. 
But when at a subsequent audience the Duchess 
appealed to the Holy Father's compassion, and re- 
minded him of their old friendship, and of the 
hospitality which he and his dead brother had en- 
joyed at Urbino during their exile, the Pope only 
shrugged his shoulders and looked at her through 
his eye-glass. " Ah I Holy Father," continued the 
Duchess, gathering courage as she spoke, " do you 
not remember how in those days we used to pray 
that you might be restored to your own ? And do 
you wish to drive us out of house and home, and 
turn us out to beg our way in the world ? Do 
you not remember yourself how bitter a thing it 
is to roam over Italy as an exile and a beggar ? " But 


the Pope refused to utter a single word, and the 
poor Duchess returned to Urbino in despair.^ 

On the 27th of April, Francesco Maria was ex- 
communicated and deprived of his states, and in 
May, Lorenzo dei Medici invaded Urbino at the 
head of 20,000 men. The Duke, with the help of 
a brave Mantuan captain, Alessio Beccaguto, whom 
his father-in-law had sent to his assistance, made a 
vain attempt at resistance, but his own subjects 
turned against him, and after throwing his guns 
into the river, he retired to Pesaro. Here he em- 
barked with the two Duchesses and all his most 
valuable property, and travelled by sea to Mantua. 

A violent tempest drove the ships in which the 
unfortunate refugees sailed across the Adriatic, and, 
according to one account, "some 700 miles to the 
east, almost on to the Slavonian shores," but at length 
the fury of the gale abated, and on the 8th of June 
they reached Pietola, where lodgings had been hur- 
riedly prepared for them. Isabella herself was stay- 
ing with her kinsman Luigi Gonzaga in his summer 
palace of Borgoforte, on the Po, some miles south of 
Mantua, and here the poor Duchesses came to visit her, 
but the Marquis shrank from exciting the Pope's dis- 
pleasure by receiving the exiles under his own roof, 
and they decided to remain at Pietola for the present. 

" To-day," wrote Ippolito Calandra to his young 
lord Federico Gonzaga, " Isabella Lavagnola came 
to Mantua, to send beds to Pietola for the Duke 
and Duchesses of Urbino, who are expected there 
to-night. Their little son, Signor Guidobaldo, has 
already been lodged in Your Highness's rooms in 
the Corte for the last four days, and is the cleverest 

1 Luzio e Renier, Mantova, p. 229. 


and most charmin<^ child in the world. He talks 
boldly of all the great things he will do, and says : 
* If Pope Leo had come by himself, he could never 
have taken my father's State I' and other things 
which make us all marvel, since he is only just two 
years old. The rooms of the Duke and Duchess 
are being prepared in the Corte." But a few days 
later the same writer explained that the illustrious 
exiles and their suite are to remain at Pietola for 
the present, until the Pope has granted permission 
for them to come to Mantua, and are made as 
comfortable as they can be under present circum- 
stances. " Yesterday," he continues, " my mother 
and I went to see Their Highnesses, and kissed their 
hands, and the Duke and Duchess immediately 
asked after you and how you like France, and many 
other things. Before I left, the widowed Duchess 
came out under the loggia to enjoy the cool evening 
air. The young Duchess went upstairs to bed, the 
Duke having sent for her, and I stayed downstairs. 
Then the widowed Duchess began to tell us how 
she went to Rome to see the Pope and how badly 
he had treated her, and when she had finished speak- 
ing there was no one who could help weeping." ^ 

The utmost compassion was felt on all sides for 
this good and gentle princess, who had thus for the 
second time been unjustly exiled from her home, and 
was once more forced to depend upon the charity of 
others. Fortunately Elisabetta had a kind and loving 
friend in Isabella, who did all that was possible to 
alleviate her painful position, and seems to have been 
more deeply attached to her sister-in-law than she ever 
was to her own daughter, Duchess Leonora. 
* Luzio e Renier, op. cit., pp. 228, 229. 

caZ^^z-z^/vz^ S'onyla.tfO., .^uJA/.rJifyk) {>4 //-r/'f 



The Duchesses of Urbino hve in great poverty at Mantua — 
Raphael's dishes melted down — Marriage of CastigUone — 
Francesco Maria tries to recover Urbino, but is forced to 
make terms with the Pope — Isabella's journey to Provence — 
Betrothal of Federico Gonzaga to Maria di Montferrato — 
Isabella's Latin studies — Visit of Contarini and Soranzo to 
the Castello — Cristoforo Solari at Mantua — Fra Francesco at 
Porto — Bandello the novelist — His relations with the Marchesa 
and pictures of her court. 

On the 18th of August, the Pope's nephew, Lorenzo 
dei Medici, was created Duke of Urbino, and at the 
same time Leo X. signed a convention with the 
Marquis of Mantua by which Francesco Maria, who 
is described as " formerly Duke of Urbino," and his 
family were allowed to reside in his father-in-law's 
dominions, on condition of never leaving them with- 
out the Pope's permission, or entering into any 
negotiations with his former subjects or with other 
powers.^ During the next five years the two 
Duchesses occupied rooms in the Corte Vecchia 
of the Castello, and only left Mantua to pay an 
occasional visit to Venice. The Marquis made 
them a yearly allowance of 6000 ducats, but in 
spite of this generous pension the poor ladies were 
often reduced to great straits. Soon after their 
arrival they were compelled to melt down the 
costly silver plate which they had brought from 

1 D'Arco in Arch. St. It., App. ii. 285. 
VOL. II. ^^ I 


Urbino, and amongst others, two magnificent dishes 
of embossed gilt bronze, which had been designed 
in antique style by Raphael. Isabella, to whom 
they were offered in the first place by Elisabetta, 
who grieved to see such beautiful works of art 
destroyed, seems to have been unable to raise 
money for their purchase. Her own private fortune 
as well as the resources of the State were sorely 
strained to meet the heavy expenses entailed by 
the misfortunes which had befallen their kinsfolk. 
She pledged her jewels and melted down her plate, 
while new taxes had to be levied and the strictest 
economy practised in order to supply the new de- 
mands upon the Treasury. Her letters to Federico 
during his absence show how great was the diffi- 
culty she found in supplying him with money 
sufficient to enable him to appear at the French 
court with the splendour befitting his rank, while 
at the same time she had to provide for the members 
of his household at Mantua. " You ask me," she 
writes, "to pay your servant, Prete Stefano, which 
I would gladly have done if it had been possible to 
perform miracles and feed five thousand with a little 
bread and still less fish. But with twenty-eight or 
thirty measures of wheat, and eight or nine barrels 
of Friuli wine, which are all the provisions for your 
household that remain, it is impossible to keep all 
your servants. Your tutor, M. Francesco Vigilio, 
has also asked for help, which we cannot give him." 
Prete Stefano was a favourite buffoon, who had ac- 
companied Federico to Milan, where he showed off 
his tricks before the Venetian envoys, and rivalled 
the famous clown Triboulet. He deUghted King 
Francis by appearing as a woman at a masquerade, 


and was pronounced by Alfonso d'Este to be a fool 
worthy of the greatest monarch in the world.^ 

Federico's correspondents, however, had one good 
piece of news to give in the letters which they 
addressed to him from Mantua that autumn. This 
was the marriage of the accomplished courtier Cas- 
tiglione, who had returned to his old home with the 
exiled princes of Urbino. On the 17th of October, 
he took to wife Ippolita Torelli, a fair young girl of 
fifteen, whose mother was a daughter of Giovanni 
Bentivoglio, formerly lord of Bologna, and sister of 
Giovanni Gonzaga's wife. The union had been 
planned by the Gonzagas, who gladly welcomed 
the return of their old favourite, and honoured the 
home-coming of the bride with their presence. 
The young Duchess Leonora rode out in a chariot 
to meet her with Laura Bentivoglio, and a long 
train of courtiers, while Isabella and Elisabetta 
received her in the bridegroom's house, that ancient 
thirteenth-centuTy palazzo which still rears its stately 
portals on the Piazza Sordello. As a mark of special 
favour, the Marquis drove out to the meadows of the 
T^, where he kept his vast stables, and descended 
from his chariot to kiss the bride's hands and wel- 
come the happy pair. Two days afterwards, a 
dramatic representation was given in honour of this 
event at the house of Giovanni Gonzaga, in the 
Borgo Pradella. A comedy called "Gog and Magog," 
written some years before by Castiglione's dead friend, 
the young Mantuan poet Falcone, was performed. 
" Madama was present," writes Amico della Torre to 
Federico, " with the whole court, and Monsignore de 

1 M. Sanuto, Diarii, xxi. 329 ; Luzio e Renier in Nuova AntO' 
logia, 1891, 121. 


St. Pol, and many French gentlemen, but Lautrec 
did not come." ^ From this it appears that Lautrec, 
the Viceroy of Milan, and several French nobles were 
being entertained at Mantua by the Marchesa, whose 
policy it now was to keep on good terms with France, 
and if possible to detach the king from his alliance 
with the Pope. 

Early in the following year, Francesco Maria 
made a gallant attempt to recover his dominions, at 
the head of an army of German, Spanish and French 
mercenaries which had been disbanded after peace 
had been made between the Emperor Maximilian 
and Venice. During eight months the young Duke 
and his wife's valiant cousin, Federico Gonzaga of 
Bozzolo, gallantly opposed the papal forces, with 
Lorenzo dei Medici and Cardinal Bibbiena at their 
head, and it was only the arrival of reinforcements, 
which Francis I. reluctantly sent to the help of his 
ally, that at length compelled them to abandon the 
unequal contest. But in the end Leo X. was forced 
to grant his enemy honourable terms. He paid the 
arrears due to Francesco Maria's troops, allowed him 
to take his guns and the famous library of Urbino back 
to Mantua, and promised to give the two Duchesses 
their dowries, a part of the agreement which he 
never performed.^ Meanwhile Francesco Maria re- 
turned to Mantua, where Elisabetta and Leonora 
had been anxiously watching the result of his brave 
struggle, bringing with him fifty-six banners as 
trophies of his barren victories and undoubted proofs 
of his personal prowess. 

* D'Ancona, Origini del Teatro, ii. 

2 Dennistoun, "Memoirs," vol. ii. ; Creighton, " History of the 
Papacy," v. 278. 


In April 1517, Isabella took advantage of her 
sister and daughter's presence at Mantua to leave 
her sick husband, and make a pilgrimage to the shrine 
of St. Mary IMagdalene at Sainte-Baume, in the hills 
near Marseilles. After paying her vows at this 
sanctuary, the Marchesa visited several towns in the 
south of France, and went as far north as Lyons. 
The reduced state of her funds compelled her to travel 
incognita, accompanied only by a small suite, among 
whom were Francesco Gonzaga, afterwards ambas- 
sador in Rome, Castiglione's brother-in-law, Tommaso 
Strozzi, and Mario Equicola. The last-named scholar 
wrote a pedantic account of this journey, more with 
the object of showing his learning than of recording 
facts of interest.^ At Avignon he recalls the residence 
of the Popes and memories of Petrarch and Laura, at 
Marseilles and Aries he mingles philosophical reflec- 
tions with historical traditions, and only here and 
there makes some brief allusion to the customs of the 
people. One day, when the Marchesa was watching 
a country dance of the peasants, Mario confesses that, 
having drunk more than was good for him, he not 
only invited a peasant maid to dance, but embraced 
her, much to the amusement of his companions, 
after which he retired to his room to decipher an 
ancient inscription.^ But, wherever the Marchesa 
went, her beauty and distinguished air attracted the 
attention of the French ladies, and one of her at- 
tendants, Giovanni da Cremona, wrote from Lyons, 
on the 4th of June, to tell Federico how much his 
mother was admired. "Your Excellency," he writes, 
" must know that, whenever Madama is seen passing 

^ De Isabella Estensis iter in Narbonensem Galliam. 

2 F. Santoro, Iter in Narb. Gall, in Giom. St. It., 1 896 


through the streets, all the men and women in every 
rank of life rush to the doors and windows, or stand 
still in the road, gazing in wonder at her beautiful 
clothes and those of her ladies. Many persons here 
say that the clothes which our ladies wear are much 
finer than any you see in France, and some people 
have told me that they could hardly beheve Madama 
was the mother of Your Excellency, and felt sure 
she must be your sister."^ When the Marchesa re- 
turned to Mantua in July, her old friend Bernardo 
dei Prosperi, who came to meet her, wrote to Ferrara 
that she had grown decidedly thinner, but was in 
radiant health, and as beautiful as she had been 
twelve years before. A fortnight later, on the 
Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, Isabella and Federico 
both assisted at a representation of scenes from the 
saint's life, given by some friars who lived in a 
convent outside the Porta Pradella. The stage 
was placed against the outer wall of the church, 
and opposite a spacious wooden tribunal was erected, 
partly on the ground, partly in the waters of the 
lake, which bathe the city walls. But, just when 
the audience was seated, the marshy ground gave 
way, the wooden stand broke down, and the Mar- 
chesa and her companions were suddenly precipitated 
into the lake. Isabella herself was up to the waist 
in water, Federico dislocated his ankle, and many of 
the courtiers and ladies suffered severe contusions. 
" But, thanks to God and the Magdalene," remarks 
Isabella in a lively letter, narrating the incident to 
Antonia del Balzo, "no lives were lost.'" 

Soon after this, a marriage was arranged be- 

1 Luzio in Nuova Antologia, 1896. 

2 Luzio, Emporium, 1900, p. 435. 


tween Federico and Maria Paleologa, the little 
eight-year-old daughter of Guglielmo II., Marquis 
of Monferrato, a descendant of the Emperors who 
had reigned at Constantinople in the last days of 
the Eastern Empire. The two famihes had long 
been on friendly terms, and one of Isabella's literary 
friends and constant correspondents, Galeotto di Car- 
reto, lived at the court of Casale. The marriage was 
first proposed when Federico visited Casale on his re- 
turn from France,and in October 1517, we find Isabella 
recommending her old music master, Angela Testa- 
grossa, to the Marchioness Anna of Monferrato, as an 
excellent teacher for " our common daughter Maria," 
adding that she herself had once been his pupil, and 
the fault was not his if she did him httle honour I ^ 
The Marquis of Monferrato died in the following year, 
leaving a little boy of six and two young daughters 
to the care of their excellent mother, a princess of 
the house of Alen9on. At the earnest entreaty of 
the widowed Marchioness, Isabella herself paid a 
visit to Casale in October 1518, and spent two days 
at Milan on the way. Here the Milanese courtiers 
and ladies hastened to pay their respects to the 
popular Marchesa, who remarked to the Dominican 
novelist Bandello that she had never seen so many 
fine chariots and richly adorned equipages before.^ 
On her return in November, she visited Asti and 
Genoa, and found herself eagerly expected at Mantua 
by her kind sister-in-law, who declared that she 
seemed to have been absent a thousand years ! 

During these last days of her husband's life, 
when Isabella's time and thoughts were chiefly en- 

^ Davari, Musica in Mantova.. 
2 Novelle, pt. i, 9, 


gaged in conducting diplomatic intrigues which 
required the greatest tact and delicacy, she had 
little leisure for study and music, and neither time 
nor money to devote to the decoration of her rooms 
and the acquisition of new treasures. But here and 
there we catch an occasional glimpse of her private life 
which shows that her tastes and habits remained the 
same. After her return from Rome, she applied 
herself with fresh ardour to her Latin studies, under 
the tuition of Equicola. In March 1516, we find her 
old servant, Jacopo d'Atri, writing from Naples, to 
beg she will send him the first Latin work of her com- 
position. Mario, however, was absent at the time, 
having been sent to offer the young King Charles 
of Spain the Marchesa's condolence on the death of 
his grandfather Ferdinand. Later in the summer, 
he was detained at Ferrara by Alfonso d'Este, who 
employed him to compose the historic with which the 
painters were to decorate his rooms, and Isabella 
wrote repeatedly from Porto, begging him to hasten 
his return, as she was alone and required help in her 
studies. Equicola, however, put off his return from 
day to day, and at length, on the 21st of September, 
she laughingly declared that she had given up all 
hopes of ever seeing him again, but warned him that, 
if he did come, she intended to make him work so hard 
that he would soon give up the ghost ! Meanwhile, 
her beautiful palaces, with their priceless collection 
of paintings and antiques, excited the admiration of 
all visitors to Mantua. 

In November 1515 the Venetian ambassadors, 
Zuan and Alvise Contarini, spent two days at Mantua 
on their way to Milan. A Venetian patrician in 
their suite, Ser Piero Soranzo, describes how they 


arrived by boat late one winter evening, and were 
conducted by torchlight into the richly perfumed and 
sumptuously furnished rooms usually occupied by the 
young lord Federico. Here a dainty supper, con- 
sisting of infinite varieties of fish, eggs, tarts, con- 
fetti, together with eight different sorts of wine, was 
served, to the sound of exquisite singing and instru- 
mental music. On the following morning, after 
attending high mass and hearing some fine organ 
music, the envoys visited the palace ,of S. Sebas- 
tiano, and admired the magnificent series of Triumphs 
painted by the hand of Mantegna. After this, they 
were ushered into another suite of apartments, where 
the same odour of rich perfumes met them on the 
threshold. Here they found the Marquis reclining 
on a couch by the hearth of a richly adorned room, 
with his pet dwarf clad in gold brocade, and three 
superb greyhounds lying at his feet. Three pages 
stood by, waving large fans, lest even a hair should 
fall upon him ; a quantity of falcons and hawks in 
leash were in the room, and the walls were hung 
with pictures of favourite dogs and horses. Fran- 
cesco received the envoys graciously, and gave orders 
that they should be shown the other halls of the 
palace, containing Costa's recently painted frescoes 
and many fine portraits of his family and friends. 
The beauty and extent of the gardens and the 
magnificent view from the Loggia greatly impressed 
the visitors, as well as the gorgeous dinner service 
of wrought silver. In the afternoon they saw 
Cardinal Sigismondo, and visited the Castello, 
" another fine palace belonging to the Marchesana," 
writes Soranzo, "more beautiful than all the rest, 
and full of lovely maidens. We saw the Armoury 


of the Marquis, which is worthy to be compared with 
the Halls of the Council of Ten, and a cabinet 
containing jewels and plate of priceless value, and 
the Grotta in which the Marchesa has collected an 
infinite number of rare and beautiful things." Un- 
fortunately Isabella herself was suffering from an 
attack of fever and could not receive her guests, 
but sent orders that they should be courteously 
entertained and shown all her treasures. Finally, 
the Venetians were taken to see the stables on tlie 
Piazza of the T^, outside the walls, and admired 
150 splendid chargers belonging to Francesco's famous 
breed of Barbary horses. Then another supper of 
choicest viands and sweetmeats was set before the 
tired travellers, after which Marchetto sang certain 
songs to the lute " so admirably that you could desire 
nothing better." ^ 

In the following March, Isabella received a visit 
from her old friend Trissino, who stopped at Mantua 
on his way back from a papal mission to Innsbruck, 
to repay a loan of 400 ducats which the Marchesa 
had generously advanced some months before. In 
return for this timely help, the papal nuncio gave 
the Marchesa valuable information of a secret agree- 
ment which had been made between Pope Leo and 
the Emperor Maximilian. Isabella wrote without 
delay to warn her brother Alfonso to be prepared 
for all emergencies, since this treaty between the 
Pope and Csesar might be fraught with the gravest 
peril to his state and person.^ 

A few weeks later, the Marchesa received another 
guest in the person of the Milanese sculptor Cristoforo 

1 M. Sanuto, Diarii, xxi. 280-282. 
' B. Morsolin, G. G. Trissino. 


Solari, surnamed "il Gobbo," who had carved the 
beautiful effigies on the tombs of her sister Beatrice 
and Lodovico Moro. This excellent master now 
came from Ferrara with a letter of recommendation 
from Duke Alfonso, begging his sister to show 
him her paintings and antiquities. Isabella gladly 
complied with this request, and took occasion of 
Cristoforo's visit to beg him to undertake a new 
work. After prolonged delays, the sculptor agreed 
to design a magnificent fountain for the gardens of 
her favourite villa of Porto, and promised to carve all 
the finer reliefs and ornamental details with his own 
hand, while two assistants were employed to execute 
the rest of the work. But Cristoforo died of the 
plague before the fountain was finished, and a long 
correspondence with his sons ensued. Eventually, 
after the Marchesa's return from Rome in 1527, 
the marbles which "il Gobbo"' had prepared and 
the reliefs which he had carved were delivered to 
his son and another Pavian sculptor of repute, who 
executed the work from designs left by the dead 

One old friend for whom the Marchesa retained 
the most profound respect and esteem was Fra 
Francesco da Ferrara, the distinguished Vicar- 
General of the Dominican Order. On her journey 
to Rome in January 1515, she had succeeded in 
obtaining an edict from Pope Leo X. pronouncing 
the beatification of their mutual friend, Osanna 
degU Andreasi ; and, as she wrote to the Frate, was 
determined never to relax her efforts until she could 
obtain the canonisation " of this our dear mother." 
Meanwhile she constantly urged Fra Francesco to 

1 A, Bertolotti, Artistic 1885 ; Luzio, Arch. St. Lomb,, 1891, 175. 


pay her a visit. Unfortunately, when at length, in May 
1516, he came to Mantua, on his way to assume the 
office of Prior of his Order at Ferrara, Isabella was 
at Borgoforte, anxiously expecting the arrival of the 
fugitives from Urbino. But at her wish the good 
Prior spent a day at Porto, and wrote a letter in 
which expressions of admiration for her beautiful 
country house are mingled with regrets at being 
compelled to leave his beloved books and assume an 
office that was especially distasteful to his studious 

"Your Excellency," he writes, "may imagine 
how much pleasure I have in seeing this fair palace 
of Porto, where, thanks to you, I have been received 
with the greatest kindness. The palace and gardens 
are indeed most charming, and seem to me laid out 
with the greatest skill by Your Highness. But the 
bitterness of my own thoughts prevents me from fully 
enjoying these rare delights. I thank Your High- 
ness once more for your kindness in allowing me to 
see this delicious spot. Another time, when I am in 
a happier frame of mind, I shall hope to return here 
and look with greater attention at this house, with its 
gardens and lovely surroundings. But you know 
how much I dislike the management of friars, and 
now, just when I had hoped to return to Milan, I am 
compelled, in spite of all my protests, to bow my 
head and go to be Prior at Ferrara."^ 

Another Dominican friar of a very diffi^rent type, 
Matteo Bandello, the novelist, was often at Mantua 
during the last years of Francesco Gonzaga's reign, 
and enjoyed the favour of Isabella in a marked degree. 
As a novice in the Moro's favourite convent of S. 

1 Luzio e Renter, Giom. St. d. Lett. It., 1900. 


Maria delle Grazie, he had watched Leonardo at 
work on his great painting in the refectory, and 
had seen the young Duchess Beatrice borne to 
the grave amid the tears and lamentations of all 
JSIilan. He was a well-known figure in the house of 
Ippohta Sforza, the wife of Alessandro Bentivoglio, 
and told stories under the green pergola of her 
garden, or conversed with "these two bright stars 
of Milanese society, Cecilia Gallerani and Camilla 
Scarampa." There he met the Marchesa Isabella 
on her visits to Milan, and was often sent to 
Mantua with letters from his learned Superior, Prior 
Francesco. Between 1516 and 1519, Bandello seems 
to have lived chiefly at the Dominican convent of 
Mantua, and was admitted into the innermost circle 
of the Marchesa's friends. The Hvely friar's wit and 
brilliancy and his rare gift of story-teUing made him 
a welcome guest at the Httle dinners and suppers, 
where Isabella loved to collect poets and humanists 
on the breezy heights of Cavriana or under the cool 
shades of Porto. " It was my habit," he writes in 
the dedication of one of his stories to Pirro Gon- 
zaga of Gazzuolo, " during the summer months when 
I Hved at Mantua, to go two or three times a 
week to pay my respects to Madama Isabella da 
Este, Marchesa di Mantova, in her most delightful 
palace of Porto, and spend the whole day discussing 
various subjects with her lords and ladies, some- 
times before Her Excellency, sometimes among 
ourselves." ^ 

There, he tells us, as the company sat in these 
cool and spacious halls, with the murmur of running 
waters falling pleasantly on the ear, Madama bade 

1 Nmelle, pt. i. 30. 


him tuke up I>ivy and read the story of Tarquin and 
of the death of Lucrezia. " For she, as you are 
aware," he says, addressing his beloved pupil, Luc- 
rezia Gonzaga, the daughter of Pirro Gonzaga of 
Bozzolo, and grand-daughter of Isabella's half-sister, 
Lucrezia Bentivoglio, ** knows the whole of Roman 
history perfectly. I obeyed her commands, and 
when I had finished we sat down to dinner, and 
afterwards discussion arose between M. Benedetto 
Capilupi and Mario Equicola regarding the subject 
of the book. M. Benedetto praised Lucrezia highly, 
but Mario, on the other hand, declared that she must 
have been mad to kill herself. While these two were 
still disputing, that noble and learned cavalier, Count 
Baldassarre Castiglione, suddenly arrived. Madama 
told him Avhat I had been reading, and the discussion 
which had arisen, adding gaily that she saw Bandello 
was on the point of going to the sacristy and referring 
the disputants to St. Augustine's remarks on the 
subject in his book of ' City of God.' ' But now you 
have come,' she added with her gracious smile, ' and 
are to settle the quarrel. So I beg of you to give 
your opinion.' Castiglione tried to excuse himself, 
but the most excellent Madama insisted that he should 
enter the arena. So he told the whole story, and 
summed up in praise of the most chaste Lucrezia's 
act, as you will read in this Novella, which I cannot 
do better than offer to you, knowing that all I write 
is dear to you, although, as a matter of fact, in this 
instance I simply relate the story as it was told by 
the gentle, learned, and eloquent Castiglione." * 
Another evening, when her secretary, Benedetto 
Capilupi, had told a pleasant tale as the Marchess 

1 Pt u. 21 


and her ladies were walking among the cypress and 
orange gi'oves of the terraced gardens, Madama her- 
self turned to the friar, and said: "Bandello, this 
story is one which would come in well among the 
Novelle which you are writing every day." ^ Again, 
one hot July afternoon, when the dog-days had set 
in and not a breath of air stirred the leaves of the 
trees, the Marchesa and her ladies retired to take an 
hour s rest in her rooms on the upper floor. That day 
Bandello's especial patron, Pirro Gonzaga of Gazzuolo, 
the youngest of Antonia del Balzo's sons, was 
at Porto, having been asked by Isabella to meet 
his cousin, Alessandro, the son of Giovanni Gonzaga, 
with whom he had been on bad terms, and who was 
now reconciled to him by the Marchesa's intervention. 
*' Now that Madama has left us," said Pirro, " let us 
go and seek fresh air in the loggia in the gardens, 
and pass the time till our Madama returns." The 
other guests gladly followed his suggestion, and were 
on their way to the loggia when Alessandro Baesso, 
Isabella's seneschal or " companion of honour," a man 
"old in years, but singularly merry in disposition," 
suddenly arrived from the palace of S. Sebastiano, 
where he was staying with the Marquis. This very 
lively and agreeable person, as Bandello calls him, 
was joyously welcomed by the whole company, and 
amused them as they sat in the loggia by repeating a 
story which the Marquis had told him of a Mantuan 
lady's intrigues with two brothers, until the barking 
of Madama's pet dogs on the stairs announced her 

Sometimes the scene changes and we find our- 
selves on a winter day in the Marchesa's rooms in the 

1 Pt. iv. 3. 


Castello. Madama sits by the fire, and Bandello 
brings her the latest news from Milan, and they talk 
over the business on which she had sent him. Then 
the principal courtiers and chief ladies of Mantua 
drop in one by one to pay their respects to Her 
Excellency, and Costantino Pio tells the company 
of a silly wrangle between the Cavaliere Soardo and 
the doctor Maestro Tommaso. Upon which Isabella 
starts a discussion on the distinction between wit and 
folly, between clever nonsense and vulgar jests. 
Every one has some instance to give, some witty 
saying or foolish speech to recall, and Bandello wins 
the prize by relating an epigram made by Marc 
Antonio Colonna, on the little mule which carried 
Lautrec and his fortunes. The whole scene gives a 
curious and animated picture of the society and 
manners of the age.^ Elsewhere Bandello repeats 
the stories which he told the Marquis walking in his 
gardens at the palace of S. Sebastiano, or in the halls 
adorned with Mantegna's glorious Triumphs, one 
day when Luigi Gonzaga of Borgoforte, Tommaso 
Strozzi, and Madama were all present. In a tale 
dedicated to Isabella's librarian, Gian Giacomo Cal- 
andra, he recalls how, in order to escape from the 
intense heat caused at Mantua last summer by the 
drying up of the waters, that glorious lady, Isabella 
da Este, Marchesa di Mantova, retired to her pleasant 
country house on the heights of Cavriana, where 
the air is always fresh and the halls are always 
cool, and amused herself after her usual custom in 
reading and conversation, in singing and playing 
herself, and listening to the most delicious music.^ 
Or, again, we find ourselves at the stately villa of 

1 Pt. i. 48. 2 Pt. ii. 5. 


Marmirolo, in the presence of the INIarchesa and 
the two Duchesses of Urbino, Hstening to the learned 
Venetian patrician and Hbrarian of San Marco, Andrea 
Navagero, the friend of Raphael and Bembo, who, in 
the presence of this august company, relates the last 
strange story which has come from Rome.^ *' During 
these days," writes Bandello, "that incomparable 
lady, Elisabetta Gonzaga, the widow of Duke Guido- 
baldo of blessed memory, being ill, I went to visit her, 
and found her constant companion and sister-in-law, 
Madama Emilia Pia, sitting with her. And as we sat 
together, talking of many things, there arrived that 
learned and most noble patrician of Vicenza, Gian 
Giacomo Trissino, bringing a letter from Signora 
Margherita Pia di San Severino to her sister Emilia. 
He was most graciously received by the Duchess, 
and the conversation turned upon the tyranny and 
cruelty exercised by Cesare Borgia in Romagna and 
La INIarca long ago. As we spoke of these things, 
the poor Duchess could scarcely restrain her tears, 
remembering the cruelty of Borgia" to one of her 
ladies, whom he surprised and captured on her 
wedding journey to Ravenna, slaying her attendants 
before her eyes. And many more things were 
said of the enormities committed by the said 
Cesare Borgia, Duca Valentino, who not only killed 
his foes and strangers, but slew his own brother. 
Then Messer Gian Giorgio told us a tale of another 
cruel tyrant, Eccelino Romano of Verona, which 
Madonna Emilia begged me to record." ^ 

To Emilia herself Fra Matteo dedicated a tale 
which he told at the house of Castiglione, where, in 
August 1517, his wife, the fair and virtuous lady 

1 Pt. iii. 46. 2 pt. iv. 12. 



Ippolita Torelli, gave birth to her first-born son 
Camillo. Emilia was there that day in waiting on 
the Duchess Ehsabetta, who came with all the noble 
lords and ladies in Mantua to offer the Count their 
congratulations on this happy event, but since she 
had to leave suddenly, she lost part of the story, 
which Bandello accordingly sends her, knowing her 
delight in any new tale and the pleasure she has 
always taken in reading his little things. And in a 
postscript he adds that a fortnight ago he received a 
letter from her sister, Margherita di San Severino, 
who is very well.^ 

In another story, told by one of Cardinal Sigis- 
mondo's secretaries to Isabella and her guests at 
Porto, the novelist recalls the rigours of the past 
winter, when the limpid lake which encircles the city 
was turned into crystalline ice, and not only the 
river Mincio, " which flows joyously through our fair 
meadows," was entirely frozen over, but even the 
broad waters of the Po were blocked with ice, so 
that all navigation was stopped, and our " excellent 
Madama crossed the frozen waters on foot, from 
Borgoforte to the opposite shore, accompanied by all 
her gentlemen and most of her lovely maidens." It 
was indeed a terrible winter. The country was over- 
run by the Venetian and French troops, who were at 
war with Maximihan ; many towns in Mantuan 
territory were sacked and burned, and since it was 
impossible to bring provisions from the farms on the 
banks of the Po, there was no hay or corn for the 
horses, and a great famine arose.^ 

In sharp contrast to these winter scenes is the 
vivid picture which Bandello gives us of the radiant 

1 Pt. i. 33. 2 pt_ i, 16. 


Midsummer's day in 1518, when the fair Camilla 
Gonzaga, the youngest of Antonia del Balzo's 
daughters, gave her hand in marriage to the great 
Neapolitan baron, the Marchese Tripalda. The 
bride herself had written to bid him to the wedding, 
and her venerable mother had added five hnes in her 
own hand, refusing to accept any excuse. Both her 
gallant brother, Federico di Bozzolo, the hero of the 
Urbino wars, and Pirro, his own dear lord, had 
threatened him with the complete and instant loss 
of their favour if he did not come. At length, moved 
by these threats and compelled by the duty which he 
owed to the noble house of Gonzaga, the friar made 
his way to Casalmaggiore, Madonna Antonia's fair 
palace in the district of Cremona, where the mar- 
riage took place. Then it was, in the midst of the 
music and dancing, and the games and tricks of the 
most comical clowns and buffoons, that Madonna 
Antonia rose, and beckoning to the bride and her 
son Pirro to follow her, took Bandello's hand and 
led him into a hall on the ground] floor, paved with 
marble and marvellously cool. " I have brought you 
here," the honoured lady said, with her gracious 
smile, "not only because of the great heat, but in 
order to escape from the crowds outside and to spend 
the noonday hour in pleasant talk. Now! let any 
one who has a fine story to tell, begin I " All the 
guests present hailed this as an excellent idea, and 
Pirro asked a Burgundian gentleman, Edmond 
Orflec, to begin, and he told a sad story of two 
faithful lovers doomed to death by a jealous Duchess 
of Burgundy, which brought tears to aU eyes. 
So the time passed pleasantly away, till the sun 
began to sink in the western sky and the evening 


breeze gently stirred the leaves with its refreshing 

These Gonzagas of Bozzolo were Bandello's most 
generous patrons, and Isabella's loyal friends. There 
was Madonna Antonia herself, who had already seen 
upwards of seventy years and was yet as young and 
lively as ever, known and loved as "the mother of 
all," adored not only by her own large family, but 
by all the subjects of her little province. And there 
were her gallant sons, Lodovico, Federico, and Pirro, 
who were always absent in the wars, but had their 
palace in Mantua and their finely situated castle of 
Gazzuolo on the steep banks of the river Oglio. 
There were her beautiful daughters, most of them 
already married to Milanese or Mantuan lords, saving 
this youngest and fairest of all, the bright-eyed 
Camilla, whose fair young face and divine voice made 
her so great a favourite with the Marchesa Isabella. 
And there were her grandchildren growing up around 
her — Luigi Rodomonte, whose giant stature and heroic 
mould were celebrated by Ariosto in immortal verse, 
and his sister Giulia, whose surpassing beauty was 
soon to become famous throughout Italy. All these 
find a place in the novelist's pages, all these and 
many other well-known figures at Isabella's court — 
the gay maids-of-honour, who, we can well believe, 
read Bandello's stories very willingly, and aU the 
distinguished humanists to whom Paolo Giovio gave 
the name of the Accademia di S. Pietro, from the 
piazza on which the Castello stood. There, to quote 
Bandello's words, we find the polished and scholarly 
librarian, Gian Giacomo Calandra, whose name lives 

the learned and industrious 

^ Pt iv. 5. 2 Orlando Furioso, xlii. 85. 


Mario Eqiiicola, who assisted the Marchesa in her 
studies ; the gentle and cultured Aldo Manuzio ; the 
accomplished poet, Paride da Ceresara, " a man after 
the heart of Terence, qui nihil humani a se alienum 
putat.'^ There was the saintly and refined Dominican 
scholar, Fra Francesco, and the learned philosopher, 
Pomponazzi, who went by the name of Peretto, and 
was so Jewish in appearance that he was often hooted 
and pelted with stones by the street-boys.^ There was 
merry INIesser Giuho Olduino, too, who told a gay 
tale in Bandello's hearing, when he was spending 
carnival with his mistress at the Duke of Milan's 
court, httle knowing how soon he was to fall into 
disgrace, and the novelist, Strascino, who spent a day 
at Porto on his way to Rome, and repeated Dante's 
tale of Pia dei Tolomei. There was the Marquis 
Francesco, in these last years of his life tied to a 
sick-bed, but still loving to recall the adventures of 
his youth and keenly enjoying a rough jest or prac- 
tical joke ; there was his brother Giovanni, " as 
honest and sensible a man as ever lived," and his 
spendthrift son, the gambler and fighter, Alessandro, 
and many other valiant captains and nobles, Visconti, 
Pallavicini, Bentivogli, and those gallant San Severini 
brothers, who claimed the friar's especial allegiance, as 
a race of heroes sprung from his own native city of 
Castelnovo in the Tortonese.^ 

And among them all, the leader and centre of 
that brilliant company, was Isabella herself, welcom- 
ing the stranger kindly, smiling graciously on the 
last speaker, suggesting new subjects for discussion, 
and bringing her own lively wit, her own wide know- 
ledge and wisdom to add to the general store. To 

1 Pt iii. S8. 2 Pt. iv. 3. 


her Bandello dedicated his tragic tale of the love and 
crimes of the Milanese Contessa di Cellani, whom 
Isabella had formerly met in IppoUta Sforza and 
Ceciha Gallerani's houses at Milan, and whose conduct 
she had gravely discussed with Matteo at Porto.^ 

Isabella, on her part, felt genuine regard for the 
lively friar, and valued him not only for his brilliant 
gifts and genial temper, but for his loyalty and faith- 
fulness. She employed him on errands to Milan and 
trusted him with difficult and delicate negotiations. 
On New Year's Day 1517, she sent a Hymn on the 
Nativity, which Bandello had composed, to Duchess 
EHsabetta, begging her to accept it, since she had 
nothing else to give her on this festival, and knows 
that it will please her as much as anything which 
she has seen for many a long day.^ In April 1518, 
she gave the friar the following written testimonial, 
addressed to the Vicar-General of the Dominicans, in 
which she refutes certain charges which had been 
brought against Bandello's character and bears wit- 
ness to the excellence of his conduct during the 
years which he had spent in the Dominican convent 
at Mantua. 

" To the Vicar and Friars of the Order of 
Preachers : — 

" Reverend Father and Friends in Christ, — 
The virtues and excellent qualities of the vener 
able Friar Matteo Bandello, and the religious and 
modest life which he has always led in this 
our city, while he has been in your convent of S. 
Domenico, are so well known, that we and all 
persons of worth and good judgment must ever 

» Pt. i. 7. 

' Luzio e Renier in Giom. St. d. L., v. Si. 


praise and commend him. But since we hear that 
you have received other accounts, which are utterly 
false, we should fail in our duty if we did not bear 
witness to the good conduct of the said Friar 
Matteo, which deserves the highest commendation. 
We therefore pray you. Reverend Fathers, to dis- 
miss any bad opinions about him which you may 
have formed, if indeed this is true, which we on our 
part greatly doubt, and we heartily pray you to hold 
him dear, and to honour him as his infinite virtues 
deserve. This will not only be a just and worthy 
thing in itself, but will give us the greatest pleasure."^ 
Mantua, April 15, 1518. 

Soon after this curious testimony to his moral 
character, Bandello went back to Milan, and did 
not return to Mantua until after the Marquis 
Francesco's death. 

At the request of his friends he composed 
a Latin oration in memory of this prince, 
which he sent to his son and successor on the 
anniversary of Francesco's death, and afterwards 
delivered before Federico and his whole court. 
But in the following letter, which he sent to the 
Marchesa, he showed his discrimination by omitting 
any allusion to her dead lord's virtues, and contented 
himself with expressions of sympathy in her loss, 
and of high hopes for her son's success and pros- 
perity. Isabella herself, we can well beHeve, 
cordially shared Bandello's sentiments as to the 
weariness of reading endless letters of condolence, in 
which the same exaggerated praises and conven- 
tional expressions were reiterated ad nauseam, 

" Most illustrious and honoured Mistress, — I think 

1 Luzio, Precettori, p. 46- 


that by this time you will have had so many letters 
of condolence on the death of your illustrious lord, 
not only from all parts of Italy, but from the whole 
of Europe, that you will be quite tired of reading 
them, besides which every letter of this kind helps 
to renew our grief and open our wounds afresh. 
But, as your loyal servant, I am in duty bound, at 
the risk of seeming indiscreet, to condole with you, 
which I would do from my heart were I writing to a 
lady who shared the weakness common to ordinary 
women. But when I remember that Your High- 
ness, besides being blest with all the excellent gifts 
and virtues which render her supreme among women, 
is so rarely endowed by nature that she can find 
better medicine for this sorrow than a thousand 
letters can prescribe, I feel I need say no more. 
Enough that Your Highness knows that I am her 
servant, and grieve over her sorrows as every faith- 
ful servant must grieve for the losses which befall 
his master. And I cannot fail to add that your 
sorrow must be diminished by the great expectation 
that we all entertain of the present illustrious Mar- 
quis, your son. For we all hope that he, being what 
he is, and always has been, and being also governed 
by Your Highness, must prove worthy of the blood 
which flows in his veins. May God long preserve 
Your Highness in health and happiness. — Of Your 
Illustrious Excellency the most obedient servant, 
Era Matteo Bandello." ^ 

The clever friar succeeded in retaining the favour 
of the new Marquis, who rendered him important 
services at Rome in days to come. And when many 
years afterwards, in the house of his patron, Fregoso, 

^ Luzio e Renier, Giorn. St. d. Lett., v. 34. 


he was entrusted with the education of Pirro and 
Camilla Gonzaga's orphan daughter, Lucrezia, he 
often recalled the joyous days which he had spent 
in Mantua, and caused the memory of the Marchesa 
and her friends to live again in his immortal pages. 



Death of the Emperor Maximilian — Of the Marquis Francesco 
Gonzaga — His death-bed and funeral — Proclamation of his 
son Federico — Death of Lucrezia Borgia — Of Isabella's 
secretary, Capilupi — Mario Equicola succeeds him — Death of 
Lorenzo dei Medici, Duke of Urbino — Mission of Castiglione 
to Rome — Urbino annexed to the Papal States — Raphael 
designs a tomb for the Marquis Francesco — His picture for 
Isabella — Portrait of Federico sent to Mantua — Mentioned in 
Charles the First's inventories — Trial of Longueil — Pandolfo 
Pico's letter on the death of Raphael. 

The year 1519 proved fatal to many persons closely 
connected with Isabella d'Este, and whose lives and 
destinies had influenced the fortunes of her house. 
First of all, in January the Emperor Maximihan 
died, and was succeeded in June by his grandson, 
Charles V., who already reigned over Spain, Naples, 
and the Netherlands. While the rival powers of 
Europe were still intriguing over the imperial election, 
the Marquis Francesco Gonzaga passed away. After 
Isabella's return from Casale at the end of the year, 
he became rapidly worse, and was unable to leave the 
palace of S. Sebastiano. On the morning of the 29th 
of March, he sent for his notary, Leonello Marchese, 
and made a will, appointing his son Federico his 
heir and successor, and leaving a yearly income of 
8000 ducats to his two younger sons, Ercole and 
Ferrante, and a portion of 3000 ducats to his two 
unmarried daughters. A yearly pension of 400 ducats 


was provided for his two illegitimate daughters, and 
a house in the Borgo Pradella was assigned to Mar- 
gherita, who still remained unmarried. The Marchesa 
was confirmed in the possession of all her revenues, 
amounting to a yearly income of 12,000 ducats, and, 
together with the Cardinal and Giovanni Gonzaga, 
was appointed executor and guardian, or adviser of 
her son Federico until he should attain the age of 
twenty-two. A fine house and estate was also left 
to his brother Giovanni as a special token of affection, 
and a pension of 6000 ducats a year was assigned to 
the Duke and Duchesses of Urbino during their 
exile.^ After this the dying man received the last 
sacraments, and sent for his wife and children, who 
assembled round his bedside towards evening. Both 
the Duchesses of Urbino, his sister and daughter, 
were present, as well as Isabella, her three sons, and two 
younger daughters — Ippolita, who had taken the veil 
eight years before, and Livia, who had been destined 
to the cloister from her birth, and was already known 
by her conventual name of Paola. The Marquis 
took leave of them and of the chief magistrates and 
nobles of Mantua, begging them to serve his son 
as well as they had served him. " My dearest son," 
he said to Federico, " 1 leave you a beautiful state 
and a large revenue. See that you act justly and 
keep the love of your subjects, and carry out my last 
orders if you wish me to rest in peace." Then, turn- 
ing to Isabella, he recommended his children to her 
care, saying that he had long known her marvellous 
wisdom and capacity, and placed his whole trust and 
confidence in her. After this he asked two Franciscan 
friars who were present to read aloud the account of 

^ M. Sanuto, Diarii, xxvii. l6l. 


the death of Christ from St. Luke's Gospel, and when 
they reached the passage, " Father, into Thy hands I 
commend my spirit," he commended his own soul 
devoutly into the hands of God. " Nothing was to 
be seen on the faces of all present but tears," writes 
Equicola, who was present; "notliing was to be 
heard but the sobbing of the women, while the children 
stood by, as it were, stunned and silent." At eight 
o'clock the INIarquis breathed his last. All the next 
day his body lay in state in the Castello, after which 
it was clothed in the Franciscan habit, as he had 
desired, and borne in an oak coffin covered with a 
black velvet pall to the Gonzaga chapel in the church 
of S. Francesco, followed by all the friars in Mantua.^ 
On the 4th of April the new Marquis, Federico, 
rode out of the Castello, clad in white, and, standing 
under the great gates of the cathedral, received the 
sceptre from the hands of Sigismondo Folengo, 
Podesta of Mantua. Then he rode through the city, 
followed by all the nobles and chief citizens. His 
stew^ard, Ippoliti, rode before him, bearing a naked 
sword high over his head, while drums were beat 
and trumpets sounded, and the people shouted 
" Long live the house of Gonzaga." A week after- 
wards the last honours were paid to the dead ruler, 
and Federico rode in state at the head of all the 
princes of his house to the church of S. Francesco. 
Here his father's corpse was laid on a sumptuous cata- 
falque hung with banners and lighted with blazing 
torches, crowned with an effigy of the dead prince in 
armour.^ Federico's old tutor, Francesco Vigilio, 
delivered a funeral oration on the following day, 

^ Mario Equicola, Commentarii, ed. l607. 

* G. Daino, Cronaca ; Volta, Storia di Mantova, ii. 304. 


after which the new Marquis received the foreign 
ambassadors and gave audience to the chief citizens 
of Mantua and the neighbouring towns. During the 
next weeks the widowed IMarchesa received letters 
and visits of condolence, not only, as Bandello re- 
marked, from all parts of Italy, but from all quarters 
of the civilised world. Ambassadors from France, 
Spain, and Germany came to offer her their respectful 
sympathy. Pope Leo X., who, in spite of his base 
and treacherous conduct towards Isabella's kindred 
of Urbino and Ferrara, always professed sincere regard 
for her, sent his secretary, Pietro Bembo, in June to 
Mantua to offer his condolences and present his 
congratulations to Federico ; and, at the Marchesa's 
invitation, this old friend paid her a visit at Marmirolo, 
where she was spending the summer. Even Cardinal 
Bibbiena, who could hardly appear in Isabella's 
presence after taking the field against her son-in-law, 
sent a courteous note from BresceUo on his way 
back from France, professing the warmest sentiments 
of affection and regretting his inabihty to visit her in 

One of the kindest letters which Isabella received 
on this occasion was from her sister-in-law, Lucrezia 
Borgia.^ Duke Alfonso, alarmed by the Pope's 
secret designs against Ferrara, had gone to the court 
of France to seek the help of his ally. King Francis I., 
and only heard of his brother-in-law's death on his 
return home. ISIeanwhile Lucrezia wrote on the 31st 
of March to express her deep regret at the death of a 
prince who had always been a good friend to her. 
" This bitter loss," she wrote to Isabella, " has 
afflicted me so deeply that, instead of being able to 

^ Gregorovius, " L. Borgia," p. 319. 


comfort others, I am in sore need of comfort myself. 
I grieve from my heart for Your Excellency in this 
great sorrow, and can never express how much grief 
it has caused me. But since it has thus pleased God, 
we must bow to His will, and I know Your Highness 
will bear this grief with your well-known courage and 
wisdom." The poor Duchess was herself in a critical 
state of health. On the 14th of June she gave birth 
to a dead child, and ten days afterwards she breathed 
her last in the arms of her husband, on the night of 
the 24th. Two days before her death, feeling that 
her last hour was near, she dictated a touching letter 
to Pope Leo X., begging for his blessing and prayers, 
and commending her husband and children to his 
care. Alfonso's grief was deep and real. He had 
been tenderly attached to this " dear partner of his 
life," as he called the wife whom he had so reluctantly 
married, and he fainted away at the funeral, and had 
to be carried into the sacristy of the church and 
revived with aqua vitce. Giovanni Gonzaga, who 
was present, found the whole city plunged in mourn- 
ing, and heard "wonderful things" of the goodness 
and piety of the lamented Duchess.^ 

Another personal loss which affected Isabella 
very closely was the death of her faithful secretary, 
Benedetto Capilupi, who had been her daily com- 
panion and assistant ever since her marriage. His 
health had long been failing, and he died towards 
the close of 1518, a few months before the Marquis 
Francesco. The choice of a new secretary was a 
matter of great importance to the Marchesa, and 
after long consideration she eventually appointed 

^ Zucchetti, "Lucrezia Borgia," p. 21, &c. ; Gregorovius, "L, 
Borgia," p. 322. 


Mario Equicola to the vacant post. "It is especi- 
ally important," she wrote to her brother Alfonso, 
on the 28rd of May 1519, "to have a secretary who 
is agreeable to the Signer Marchese, and as he and 
all my family are in favom* of Mario I have made 
him my secretary." Both as a refined Latin scholar 
and a skilled diplomatist, Equicola was especially 
qualified for the post. And from the time that 
Federico was a boy in Rome he had ingratiated 
himself with him by sending him messages from 
his mother's lively maids-of-honour, especially Alda 
Boiarda, and that Isabella Lavagnola with whom 
Mario's own name had been repeatedly associated, 
much to the Marchesa's displeasure. Certainly the 
young Marquis honoured Mario with many tokens 
of his favour, and bestowed several lucrative offices 
upon him during the first months of his reign. On 
the whole Equicola served Isabella well, although 
in the last years of his hfe, when dissensions arose 
between Federico and his mother, he had a difficult 
part to play, and in his anxiety to worship the 
rising sun, did not always remember the loyalty 
which he owed to his mistress. 

Meanwhile news reached Mantua of the sudden 
death of the Pope's nephew Lorenzo dei Medici. 
This weak and dissolute prince expired at Florence 
on the 4th of May, only a few days after his French 
wife, Madeleine de la Tour d'Auvergne, leaving an 
infant princess who afterwards became known in 
history as Catherine dei Medici. This unexpected 
event revived the hopes of Francesco Maria, whose re- 
storation to the throne of Urbino was eagerly desired 
by his old subjects. But Isabella and Federico both 
felt that their own interests were at stake, and 


refused to help the Duke in any rash attempt to 
recover his throne. The favour of Pope Leo X. 
was of the utmost importance to the young Marquis, 
and in order to secure this he and his mother agreed 
to send CastigHone to Rome to obtain certain con- 
cessions from tlie Pope regarding the salt duties 
payable by the State to the Holy See, and at the 
same time plead the cause of the exiled Duke. Leo 
X., however, was inflexible on this latter point, and, 
immediately after his nephew's death, the annexa- 
tion of the duchy of Urbino to the Papal States 
was proclaimed. On all other matters His Holiness 
showed himself very favourably disposed towards the 
young INIarquis, and sent Isabella the most gracious 

Among the other commissions with which the 
Marchesa had charged Castiglione on this occasion 
was that of obtaining a design for her husband's 
tomb from Michel Angelo or Raphael. The Count 
naturally applied first of aU to his dear friend, and 
on the 3rd of June, he wrote to inform Isabella 
of the unexpected success which had attended his 
application to the great master of Urbino. " As to 
what Your Excellency writes regarding the drawings 
for the tomb, I hope that by this time your wish 
is satisfied, and that you have received Raphael's 
— to my mind — altogether appropriate design, 
from the hands of Monsignore Tricarico [Lodovico 
da Canossa]. Michel Angelo was not in Rome, so 
there was no one but Raphael to whom I could 
apply, and I feel sure his drawing will please you." ^ 
The monument, however, was never erected, and 
Raphael's sketch has unfortunately disappeared. A 

^ Campori, Notizie di Rajffaello, &c. 


singular fatality has attended all the works which 
the Urbinate executed for the Gonzagas. We saw 
how the portrait of Federico was left unfinished at 
the moment of Julius the Second's death. After 
the young prince's departure, either Raphael himself 
or one of his assistants completed the portrait, which 
was found by Castiglione in the possession of one 
of Cardinal Colonna's servants, nine months after 
Raphael's death. " I hear," wrote the Count to 
his lord on the 1st of January 1521, "that a portrait 
of Your Excellency, painted by the hand of Raphael, 
is here in Rome, and belongs to a servant of the 
Most Reverend Colonna. I have tried to buy it, 
but the owner will not part from it for anything 
in the world. I have therefore applied to the said 
Cardinal, telling him that Your Excellency knows 
this portrait is in Rome, and has desired me to 
procure it for you, so I think the Cardinal will 
manage to make you a present of it." ^ Federico was 
dehghted to hear of Castiglione's discovery, and 
when, on the 19th of February, the precious portrait 
reached Mantua, he expressed his warmest thanks 
to Cardinal Colonna for a gift which was more 
acceptable to him than anything else in the world. 
Raphael's portrait is mentioned again in a letter 
addressed to Federico at the time of his marriage 
by Ippolito Calandra in October 1531. At that 
time the ducal apartments in the Castello were 
being decorated to receive the prince's bride, and 
among the pictures that were hung under Giulio 
Romano's direction in one hall, Calandra mentions 
" the portrait of Your Excellency by Messer Tiziano, 

^ Campori, op. cit., p. 9, &c. 


and that which Raphael of Urbino painted of Your 
Excellency in Rome." ^ 

A hundred years later, when Duke Vincenzo 
II. sold the greater part of his priceless collection 
to Charles I., we find a small bust-portrait of the 
first Duke Federico as a boy, in armour, among 
the entries in the inventory of 1G27. The picture 
certainly came to England, and is correctly described 
in Van der Doort's catalogue of the pictures at 
Whitehall and St. James's in 1639, as " The Marquis 
of Mantua, who by Charles V. was made first Duke 
of Mantua — 5h inches by 8| inches. A Head, on 
panel, of a young man with long locks, wearing a red 
hat, with a medal." This, it is clear, was Caradosso's 
relief of Hercules, which Federico wore when he 
sat to Raphael for his portrait. At the sale of the 
royal collection during the Commonwealth, this 
portrait was described as "A Marquis's Head, by 
Raphael, and appraised at £200." According to 
Passavant, the portrait was bought for Cardinal 
Richelieu, after whose death it returned to England, 
and was seen by Dr. Waagen in the Lucy collection 
at Charlecote Park, Warwickshire. About twenty 
years ago it was sold to a London dealer, and has 
not been heard of since.^ 

When Isabella herself was in Rome, she had, as 
we have seen,^ asked Raphael to paint a little picture 
for her studio, and after her return to Mantua, 
begged Agostino Gonzaga to remind the master of 
his promise. In June 1515, Agostino replied that 

1 Pungileoni, Elogio,p. 182. D'Arco, op. cit., ii. 153. 

2 Claude Phillips, " The Picture Gallery of Charles I.," p. 80. 
Waagen, " Kunstwerke in England," p. 476 ; Passavant, Kunstreite, 
p. 156. 

8 P. 112. 


he had spoken to Raphael, who promised to begin 
the work shortly. But, knowing by experience 
how vain these assurances often proved, the INIarchesa 
thought it well to call in Castiglione's help. Ac- 
cordingly, when the Count came to Mantua that 
summer, she begged him to use his influence with 
Raphael on her behalf, and on the 8th of November, 
he wrote from Urbino to tell her of his efforts in 
this direction. 

" When I left Mantua, Your Excellency desired 
me to induce Raphael to paint your picture. So 1 
wrote to him directly I reached Urbino, and he 
replied that he would gladly satisfy your wish. 
After that I went to Rome and entreated him so 
earnestly that he promised to put all his other works 
aside to work for Your Highness. Now he asks me 
to send the measurements of the picture, and the 
particulars of the lighting, so that he may set to 
work without delay. So, if Your Excellency will 
send me these, I will see to the rest, and only await 
your orders." 

Isabella replied in the following letter : — 
"Dearest and magnificent Knight, — I have not 
answered your letter of the 8th before, as I was 
awaiting a trusted messenger. Now I send my 
horseman, and thank you warmly for your good 
offices with Raphael of Urbino, and for persuading 
him to gratify my wish. And for the further exe- 
cution of this kind service, I send you by my horse- 
man the canvas for the picture, together with the 
measurements and lighting, which you will forward 
to Raphael, begging him to begin the work and 
paint it at his convenience, assuring him, never- 
theless, that the sooner he can serve me, the better 


pleased I shall be."^ Mantua, November 30, 


But neither Castiglione's powers of persuasion 

nor Raphael's affection for his friend could avail 
anything. When the Count returned to Rome in 
1519, the Marchesa's picture was still unfinished, 
and the Duke of Ferrara's envoy, Paolucci, wrote 
to his master : " I have been to see M. Baldassarre 
Castiglione, with whom I spoke of Raphael, and 
he told me that for a long time past he had been 
painting a picture for Madama la Marchesana, but 
was so busy with other things that he only worked 
at it in his presence. And the Count feels certain 
that, when he is gone, he will work at it no more I " ^ 
Unfortunately, the Count left Rome in November 
1519, and since Raphael died in the following 
April, we may conclude that Isabella's picture re- 
mained unfinished. There is no further mention of 
the coveted work in her correspondence, or in the 
inventories of her collection. All we know is that 
among the " Mantuan pieces " bought by Charles I. 
there were two pictures bearing the great Urbinate's 
name. One of these was the Holy Family, known as 
" La Perla," a picture painted in Raphael's latter days, 
and chiefly by the hands of assistants, for Lodovico 
da Canossa, which was afterwards acquired by Duke 
Vincenzo I. The other was a quadi^etto, described 
in the inventory of the King's sale as a Little Virgin 
and Christ, and valued at the high price of £800. 
Mr. Claude Phillips suggests that this little picture 
may have been the Vierge de la Maison d'Orl^ans, 
now at Chantilly, which was probably the quadretto 

^ Luzio, "Federico Gonzaga," p. 68. 
2 Campori, oji. cit., p. 12. 


painted for Duke Guidobaldo of Urbino, and may 
have been given to Isabella by her son-in-law. If, 
on the contrary, as Campori thinks, the Little Virgin 
of the Mantuan collection was the picture painted 
by Raphael for the Marchesa in the last years of his 
life, it could not have been the Chantilly Madonna, 
which evidently belongs to an earlier period. But 
there is a Madonna of the Roman period, only partly 
the work of Raphael, which may well have been 
finished after his death by some inferior hand. This 
is the fascinating picture known as the Rogers 
Madonna, which was exhibited last winter at Bur- 
lington House, and is now the property of Miss 
Macintosh. Like the Chantilly Madonna, this 
Virgin and Child belonged to the Orleans collection, 
and may equally have come to England from 
Mantua. It is therefore possible that this sadly 
injured painting, which still retains the matchless 
charm of Raphael's design, may be the picture on 
which Castiglione watched the great master at work 
in the last days of his life, and for which Isabella 
waited so long in vain. 

Castiglione's letters to the Marchesa contain several 
other allusions to the wonderful works which were 
crowded into Raphael's last year. In a letter of June 
16, he writes : " His Hohness takes more dehght in 
music than ever, and enjoys every variety of his 
favourite art. He also takes great pleasure in archi- 
tecture, and is always doing something new in his 
palace. The latest addition is a loggia, painted and 
adorned with stuccoes in the antique style. This is 
the work of Raphael, and is perhaps more beautiful 
than anything which has been seen in modern times." 

In the same letter Castiglione alludes to an event 


which had stirred Roman society to its depths. A 
brilliant Flemish scholar, Christoplie Longueil, after 
winning the highest honours at the University of 
Paris, came to Rome in the year 1516, and quickly 
acquired a well - deserved fame in learned circles. 
Erasmus, Reginald Pole, Bembo, and Sadoleto all 
numbered him among their friends, and it was 
proposed to confer the honour of Roman citizen- 
ship upon him in recognition of certain orations 
which he had pronounced in praise of the Eternal 
City. This proposal excited the jealousy of a strong 
party in the Roman Academy, who looked coldly on 
foreign humanists ; and a young Roman, of noble 
birth and high attainments, named Celso Mellini, 
boldly accused Longueil of high treason, on account 
of an old oration in which he had formerly ventured 
to declare that France and Paris were greater than 
Italy and Rome. The most intense excitement 
prevailed on both sides, and crowds assembled in 
the great hall of the Capitol to hear Mellini dehver 
his Latin oration before the Pope, the Cardinals, and 
Senators of Rome. The tempest of enthusiasm and 
rage which the young orator's speech excited is de- 
scribed by Castiglione in his usual Uvely style. 

"A young Fleming, called Longolio," he writes 
to Isabella, "lately came to Rome, and is pronounced 
by all who know him to be a most learned man. It 
seems that he asked the Conservatori to make him a 
Roman citizen, and that his request was granted. 
Afterwards it was discovered that some time ago, 
when he was very young, he had made an oration in 
favour of France, in which he condemned many 
things in Rome, and placed the French above the 
Romans in all things. Then a young Roman, not 


yet twenty years, a son of Mario IMellini, sprang up 
and delivered a long and eloquent oration in the 
finest possible manner. He attacked Longolio in 
the Pope's presence with so much power and pathos 
that every one wept to hear him describe the cala- 
mities which have befallen the city of Rome, and 
filled the hearts of his hearers with such hatred 
against the guilty man that every one declared if the 
Pope had not been present and Longolio had been 
there, he would have been thrown out of the windows 
and cut to pieces. And His Holiness himself con- 
fessed that he was deeply moved. Now a most 
eloquent oration is expected from Longolio in his 
defence, which will be recited before the Pope by 
another noble Roman youth, for this Longolio has 
many supporters among the most learned men here, 
such as Bembo, Sadoleto, Jo. Batt. Casanova, Bishop 
Porcaro, Capella, and others. So you see that we 
shall have a whole collection of Latin orations, which 
I will try and send Your Excellency.*' ^ 

Luckily for poor Longueil's safety, he had left 
Rome secretly before the trial and returned to Paris. 
An eloquent Latin defence from his pen was 
afterwards printed by his friends, in which he 
maintained that he had broken no Roman laws, but 
was the victim of the envy and hatred of the Roman 
scholars. Even the Pope, who had been moved to 
tears by Celso Mellini's speech, confessed that the 
young Roman might be the more eloquent, but that 
the Fleming had the better case. Celso, however, 
was the hero of the hour. The Archdeacon of Mantua 
spoke of him as another Cicero, and told Equicola 
how, after the trial, his father, Mario Mellini, enter- 

^ D. Gnoli, Giudizio, p. 54. 


tained the whole Academy at a banquet at his villa 
on Monte JNlario, while his rival fled from Rome 
in fear of his life. Celso was taken into the Pope's 
household and loaded with honours and rewards, and 
Longueil consoled himself in the company of Erasmus 
at Lou vain. ^ Before long, however, his innocence was 
triumphantly vindicated ; he was offered the Latin 
chair at Florence by Cardinal Giulio dei Medici, and 
invited to return to Rome and receive the honours of 
citizenship. But he preferred to settle at Padua, near 
his friend Bembo, and died of fever at Venice in 1522. 
His brilliant rival's career was also prematurely cut 
short. Only a few months after the famous scene in 
the Capitol, he was drowmed in a swollen torrent as 
he rode into Rome, from the Pope's villa of La 
Magliana, on a dark and stormy November night. 
All the poets at the papal court lamented the ill- 
fated youth in their verses, and the Pope himself 
wrote an elegy in his honour. Isabella d'Este, 
who had taken the deepest interest in the whole 
of this curious story, alludes to his death in the same 
letter in which she sorrows over the untimely close of 
Raphael's life. On that fatal Easter Eve, when Rome 
was filled with mourning and consternation, one of 
the Marchesa's many correspondents, Messer Pandolfo 
Pico della Mirandola, who often sent her news when 
Castiglione and her other friends were absent, took 
up his pen and wrote this memorable letter : — 

"To the most illustrious and excellent lady, 
Madama la Marchesana di Mantova. Although, in 
these holy days, our thoughts should be whoUy 
occupied in confession and devout exercises, I will 
not fail to pay my duty to Your Excellency. For 

1 V. Cian, Giorn. St., xix. 155. 


the moment, I have but one thing to tell you. This 
is the death of Raphael of Urbino, who passed away 
last night, that is to say, on the night of Good 
Friday, leaving this court plunged in the most 
profound and universal grief for the ruin of those 
hopes of the greatest things which were expected 
from him, and which, had he lived to realise them, 
would have been the glory of this age. And indeed, 
as every one says, we had a right to expect the 
greatest things from him, seeing those which he had 
already accomplished, and the still grander works 
which he had begun. The heavens have proclaimed 
this death by one of those signs which marked the 
death of Christ, when the rocks were opened. Lapides 
scissi sunt. In the same way, the Pope's palace has 
cracked in such a manner that the building is threat- 
ened with ruin, and His Holiness has fled in terror 
from his rooms and has gone to those built by Pope 
Innocent VIII. Here we talk of nothing but the 
death of this great man, who has ended his first life 
at the age of thirty-three. His second life, that 
immortal fame which knows neither time nor death, 
will endure eternally, both by reason of his works and 
by the labours of the scholars who will write his 
praises, and who will find in him a never-failing theme. 
The said Raphael was very honourably buried in the 
Rotonda, where he had desired a monument to be 
placed at the cost of 1000 ducats, and had endowed 
the chapel of his sepulchre with the same amount. 
He has also left 300 ducats to each of his servants. 
Yesterday we heard from Florence that Michel Angelo 
was ill. — Your most faithful servant, Pandolfo di 
Pico della Mirandola." ^ Rome, April 7, 1520. 

^ Campori, Noiizie di Rajj'acUo, p. 13. 


Isabella replied on the 16th, from Mantua, by the 
pen of her secretary, Mario Equicola, whose style we 
recognise in the following note : — 

" Messer Pandolfo, — In reply to yours of the 7th, 
I have nothing to say but that I grieve deeply for the 
death of Messer Raphael, a man worthy of immortal 
fame and master of the painter's art. God has taken 
from us what He has given to no other, but the laws 
of Nature are inevitable and Fate has fixed the term 
of life. Therefore we must be patient. We have 
heard of the verses wi'itten on the premature death 
of the clever Mellini. If we were to grieve for so 
gifted a youth as much as his merit deserves, our 
sorrow would be endless, but to observe moderation 
in all things and to obey the voice of reason is alone 
worthy of praise. We would be glad to see those 
verses. Blessed indeed is he whose death has been 
celebrated by the Pope ! What greater praise could 
he have, or by what greater personage could he be 
lamented ? Farewell." ^ 

^ Luzio e Renier, Mantova, p. 233. 



Titian visits Mantua — Admires Mantegna's works — Visit of the 
papal nuncio Chiericati — His letters to Isabella from Spain 
and England — Description of the court of Henry VHI. 
— Pilgrimage to Ireland, and strange adventures — The 
sweating sickness in London — Chiericati helps Isabella to 
restore friendly relations with Charles V. — Her influence and 
that of Castiglione at the Vatican — Death of Ippolita Torelli 
— Letters of the Marchesa and her son to Castiglione — Death 
of Cardinal Bibbiena. 

Five months before Raphael died in Rome, Titian 
paid his first visit to Mantua. In the autumn of 
1519, the Venetian master was engaged in painting 
his great series of Bacchanals for Alfonso d'Este in 
the Castello of Ferrara, and took advantage of a 
tournament that was held at the ducal court, to pay 
a flying visit to Mantua in company with the court 
painter Dosso Dossi. Isabella was unfortunately 
absent at Marmirolo, and only heard of Messer 
Tiziano's visit afterwards from her faithful corre- 
spondent Girolamo da Sestola. On the 22nd of No- 
vember the old music master sent her the following 
note : — 

" Dear and most illustrious Lady, — Some days ago 
M. Dosso and M. Tiziano, another good master who 
is making a fine painting here in Ferrara for the Lord 
Duke, went to JNIantua. He saw all Mantegna's 
works, and praised them greatly to our Signor, and 



he also praised your Studios. But, above all, he ad- 
mired your Tondo exceedingly, and calls it the finest 
thing that he has ever seen. Our Signor has one 
here, but Titian says that yours is incomparably 
the finest. I commend myself, as ever, to Your 
Highness. — Your servant, Girolamo da Sestola, 
called Cholgia."^ 

There can, we think, be little doubt that the 
Tondo which Titian admired so much was Mantegna's 
famous fresco in the vault of the Sala degli Sposi, 
with the blue sky above, and the laughing putti, the 
blue-breasted peacock, and women's heads looking 
over the parapet. This wonderful perspective of 
Andrea's invention excited the admiration of all the 
foremost painters of the age, and there was nothing 
to compare with it either at Mantua or at Ferrara. 
A painter in Alfonso's service, Ercole Grandi, had, 
it is true, adopted a similar method in a fresco with 
which he decorated the roof of a hall at Ferrara, 
but, as Titian justly pronounced, Mantegna's Tondo 
was far finer, and the Marchesa had good reason to 
be proud of this unrivalled masterpiece. 

Another distinguished stranger who visited Man- 
tua while Isabella was spending the first months of her 
widowhood in comparative seclusion, was the papal 
nuncio Francesco Chiericati. Since the days when 
the Marchesa met the clever Vicentine secretary at 
Milan during Maximilian Sforza's brief reign, he had 
risen high in Pope Leo's favour, and had been 
employed on many important missions. But he 
never wavered in his loyalty to the Gonzagas, or 
failed to keep Isabella informed of political events, 
as well as of the strange experiences and adventures 

^ Luzio in Emporium, 1900, p. 431. 

-t] » 


that he met with in distant lands. From Spain he 
sent her a " Treatise on the History of Castile," which 
greatly delighted her, when she was spending the 
summer of 1515 at Porto, and when he went to 
England as papal nuncio at the close of the year, 
he wrote a whole series of interesting and amusing 
letters, in which he describes these unknown regions 
for her benefit. Chiericati was certainly fortunate in 
the moment of his visit to our shores. He came to 
London when, early in the reign of Henry VIII., the 
young King's accession had inspired all lovers of 
learning with the highest hopes, in those happy days 
when his friend Erasmus of Rotterdam declared that 
the English court contained more persons of real 
knowledge and ability than any university in Europe. 
The Italian nuncio could not contain his amazement 
at the high degree of civiHsation and culture which 
he found in this barbarous land. His letters to Isa- 
bella abound in praises of the wonderful King, who 
could sing and play on all manner of instruments, 
who was so gallant a rider and fine a soldier, and at 
the same time governed his land so wisely, and was 
so generous a friend to scholars — a King indeed, as 
Erasmus said, who might well bring back the golden 
age. Chiericati spent Palm Sunday with King Henry, 
and was charmed with the youthful monarch's genial 
manners, and deeply impressed with his wisdom in 
the choice of his minister, the Cardinal of York, 
who governed the realm with such prudence and 
sagacity. The fame of the Mantuan court had 
penetrated even to this far-off corner of the West. 
Henry told the nuncio there were no horses to 
equal those which the Marquis had sent him from 
his stables, and which he always rode on state 


occasions, and expressed the greatest satisfaction 
when he heard that Francesco Gonzaga was training 
some more for his use. His Highness also set great 
store on a musician from Brescia, who had been 
sent to his court with a recommendation from the 
Marquis, and was desired by the King to wait on 
His Excellency, when he returned to Italy, and take 
him Henry's cordial salutations. Both the King 
and his brother-in-law, the Duke of Suffolk, sent 
the Marchesa word how gladly they would wel- 
come a visit from one of her sons, and Cardinal 
Wolsey told Chiericati that, if it pleased Her Excel- 
lency to send Federico, or either of his brothers, to 
England, he would be a father and protector to the 
young prince. In June 1517, Count Jacques de 
Luxembourg, accompanied by several Spanish cour- 
tiers and prelates, arrived in London on an embassy 
from Charles V., to invite Henry to join in a new 
league with him and the Emperor. The nuncio 
was present at the magnificent reception given to 
these envoys by the King, who wore a sumptuous 
robe of cloth of gold, in the Hungarian style, while 
his nobles were all clad in gold brocade, and wore 
the finest chains and collars which Chiericati had 
ever seen. A week of festivities followed ; banquets 
were given by the Cardinal and Lord Mayor, and 
one day the King invited the ambassadors and the 
nuncio to dine privately with him in the Queen's 
rooms. " This, I am told, is a very unusual thing," re- 
marks the writer. " The King himself sang and played 
all kinds of different instruments with rare talent, and 
then danced, and made the Count dance, and gave 
him a fine horse with rich trappings, and a vest of 
gold brocade trimmed with sables, worth 700 ducats." 


" On St. Peter's Day," continues Chiericati, " all the 
ambassadors of the league went to court, and the King 
heard mass in the Capella Grande below, and wore his 
royal robes of brocade and ermine, and a train resplen- 
dent with jewels, carried by pages." But the finest 
sight of all was the tournament held on the Feast of 
the Translation of St. Thomas of Canterbury, in a 
jpiazza three times as large as that of S. Pietro of Man- 
tua, surrounded by walls, with tiers of seats occupied by 
thousands of spectators, with two great pavihons of 
cloth of gold on either side. The King appeared on 
horseback in a white damask surcoat, embroidered with 
his device of roses in rubies and diamonds, with a 
helmet on his head, and a richly jewelled breast- 
plate valued at 300,000 ducats. He was followed by 
forty knights on white horses, with bridles and harness 
of pure silver, worked in niello with the King and 
Queen's initials and devices, upon which aU the gold- 
smiths in the city had been employed for the last 
four months. *' The Duke of Suffolk [Suforche in 
the nuncio's speUing] rode out at the head of a 
similar troop from the opposite pavilion, and when he 
met the King in single fight, we seemed to see Hector 
and Achilles. After this encounter, the King took 
off his armour and appeared in blue velvet, em- 
broidered with gold bells, attended by twenty-four 
pages in the same livery, and rode before the Queen 
on a very tall white horse, prancing and leaping as 
it went, and when he had tired out one horse, he 
went back to his tent and mounted another." ^ 

The banquet which followed in the Palace of 
Whitehall was on a magnificent scale ; the gold and 
silver plate piled on the sideboards was worth a 

1 B. Morsolin, F. Chkncati, pp. 124-237. 


king's ransom, and every variety of meat, poultry, 
game, and fish was served at table. All the dishes 
were borne before the King by figures of elephants, 
panthers, tigers, and other animals, admirably de- 
signed ; but the finest things in Chiericati's eyes 
were the jeUies made in the shape of castles, towers, 
churches, and animals of every variety, "as beauti- 
ful and closely copied as possible." " To sum 
up," he adds, " most illustrious Madama, here in 
England we find all the wealth and delights in the 
world. Those who call the English barbarians are 
themselves barbarians I Here we see magnificent 
costumes, rare virtues, and the finest courtesy. And, 
best of all, here we have this invincible King, who is 
endowed with so many excellent virtues that he 
seems to me to surpass all others who wear a crown 
in these times. Blessed and happy is the country 
which is ruled by so worthy and excellent a prince ! 
I would rather live under his mild and gentle sway 
than enjoy the greatest freedom under any other 
form of government I " ^ 

In a postscript to this long letter, dated the 10th of 
July 1517, the nuncio informs Isabella that the King 
and Queen are leaving London to spend the summer 
in the country, and that he and his suite are going to 
Hibernia to see the Purgatory of St. Patrick and all 
the other wonderful things in that island, of which he 
has heard so much, and which he will describe to her 
on his return. It was many weeks, however, before 
Chiericati was able to fulfil his promise, and when he 
did so, he was obliged to confess that the experiences 
which he had met with in Ireland were hardly those 

1 B. Morsolin, op. cU. 


which he had expected to find in the Island of the 

" You must know," he wrote from Middelburg in 
Zeeland on the 28th of August, " that we left London 
with letters from the King, and, after travelling five 
days, reached a city called Chmstra [Chester], and 
crossed the sea in a day and night to Dublino^ one of 
the three metropolitan cities of Hibernia. It is full 
of people and ships, which export salt fish, leather, 
horses, and cattle, and take back wine and merchan- 
dise. Here we were courteously entertained by the 
Archbishop and the Count of Childaria [Kildare], 
the viceroy of the island, and went on with letters 
from them to Doi'da [Drogheda], a city in a pleasant 
plain, and five miles further to Doncalch [Dundalk], 
once a famous city, but now in ruins. After another 
day's journey of twenty-four miles, we reached Arma- 
cana [Armagh], the seat of the primate, which has 
an abbey of canons, but is very desolate. Here you 
find yourself in the midst of savage people, and 
leaving the sea, begin to enter the hills. Twenty 
miles further we reached the walled city of Clochere 
[Clogher], which is full of thieves, and twelve miles 
from that another town called Omagh, also full of 
thieves. Then we entered Tyrone, a country full of 
forests, lakes, and swamps, where the dominion of 
England ceases and a native count reigns. Here 
are many rivers where, in May and June, pearls are 
found hidden in the oysters on the rocks. During 
those two months, clouds of black fog settle on the 
rivers in the early morning, and when the sun rises 
they melt into dew, and if by accident a drop falls 
into an open oyster it congeals into a hard white 
substance. These are those pearls which are called 



Scottish pearls, and the people find so many of them 
that they drive a thriving trade. Here we reached the 
banks of a lake [Lough Derg], which is four miles 
round and has a rocky island in the centre, 20 steps 
long by 16 wide, which is called the Purgatory of St. 
Patrick, and is inhabited by three canons. By sound- 
ing a horn and waving a white handkerchief on the 
end of a pole, we summoned one of the canons' two 
servants, who rowed us one by one across the lake in 
a rude bark made of a hollow beech-trunk, for which 
we paid a penny each. Here we landed and found a 
little oratory, with a hut and tables for the canons. 
In front of the church door are the three cabins of 
St. Bridget, St. Patrick, and St. Columba. Behind, 
towards the east, is the well of St. Patrick, a cave in 
which the saint is said to have slept. It holds twelve 
people, and has an iron door ; but I did not go inside, 
fearing to see terrible things. So I remained outside, 
standing three steps from the door, and the canons 
went in with two pine torches. I looked at the roof, 
which is a rock like a mill stone, and when you strike 
it you hear an echo, and this has given rise to the 
fables we hear about St. Patrick's well. Two of my 
companions entered the cave with five other pilgrims, 
but I think my penance was worse than theirs, as I 
had to await their return almost ten days ! and during 
that time I consumed the greater part of the victuals 
we had brought with us. On the day of your arrival 
you make your will, if you have anything to leave ! 
Then you confess and fast on bread and water for 
nine days, and visit the three cabins every hour, say- 
ing any number of prayers. And you have to stand 
in the lake, some up to the knees, others half-way 
up their bodies, and some up to their necks! At 


the end of nine days you hear mass, communicate, 
and are blessed and signed with holy water, and go 
with the cross before you to the gate of St. Patrick's 
well. Then you go inside and the door is closed, 
and not opened until the next day, as you have to 
stay there twenty-four hours. The rock is pierced 
on one side and a dish with food is put in through 
this hole by one of the canons, who stands there and 
exhorts the pilgrims to be constant and not to be 
overcome by the temptations of the devil, for it is 
said that all manner of horrible visions appear to 
them, and many come out idiots or madmen, because 
they have yielded to temptation. Of those who 
entered the cave when I was present, two saw such 
fearful things that one went out of his mind, and when 
he was questioned, declared that he had been beaten 
violently, but by whom he did not know. Another 
had seen beautiful women, who invited him to eat 
with them, and offered him fruit and food of all 
sorts, and these were almost vanquished. The others 
saw and felt nothing but great cold, hunger, and 
weakness, and came out half-dead the next day. 
We revived them as best we could, and their names 
were written in a book kept in the church, which 
contains the names of all the pilgrims who go there. 
The first name I read was that of Guarino da 
Durazzo, which I thought must be fabulous, but 
now I have found his journey described in an ancient 
parchment manuscript. The merit of entering this 
Purgatory is, they say, that you not only receive plenary 
indulgence, but that through the grace granted to 
St. Patrick you will not have to do penance for your 
sins in another world. We returned by the same 
road to Armagh, and after visiting the Abbey of 


Verdelino [Newry], travelled thirty-four miles further 
to a city on the sea, called Don [Down], where I found 
a bishop who comes from Viterbo, an old man of 114 
years. His church contains the bodies of St. Patrick, 
St. Bridget, and St. Columba, and here we made a 
station of three days on our pilgrimage. In this place 
I could not walk about the streets without being 
pursued by people, who came running out of their 
houses to kiss my clothes when they heard that I was 
the Pope's nuncio, so I was forced to stay at home. 
Such is the annoyance which arises from over-much 
religion I But the good old bishop treated me very 
kindly, and gave me some excellent fishing. Here 
fish are so plentiful that you can buy a salmon of 
50 lbs., which would be worth a great deal in Italy, 
for a single penny I " 

After visiting the stone sepulchre of a giant, 
48 feet long, and a spring, sacred to St. Patrick, 
which possessed miraculous properties, the travellers 
returned to Dublin, and Chiericati concludes his 
letter to Isabella with the following summary of his 
general impressions of Ireland : — 

*' The Island of Hibernia is beyond Scotland and 
England, and is a third larger in size. The air is 
very temperate and warmer than that of England, 
which is very curious. The King owns about a third 
part of the sea-coast ; the rest of the country belongs 
to different lords, who are little better than peasants. 
They call the Pope their king, and stamp the keys 
and triple tiara on their coins. The Count of 
Childaria is the chief lord, and is a wealthy man 
and as civilised as an Englishman, and the maritime 
cities are also civilised. The country is poor, and 
only produces fish, cattle and chickens. An ox 


is worth a ducat, a pair of capons are sold for two- 
pence. Fish are hardly worth paying for. The 
people are clever and cunning, and very warlike, 
and are always quarrelling among themselves. They 
live on oat-cake, and mostly drink milk or water. 
The men wear cloth shirts dipped in saffron from 
head to foot, shoes without stockings, and a grey 
cloak {shernia) and felt hat, and are closely shaven, 
excepting on the chin. The women are very white 
and beautiful, but dirty. They wear the same 
saffron-coloured shirts, and red caps a la Carmagnola 
on their heads. They are very religious, but do not 
hold theft to be wrong, saying that it is sinful to 
have property and fortunes of our own, and that 
they live in a state of nature, and have all things 
in common. And for this cause there are so many 
thieves, and you run great risk of being killed or 
robbed if you travel without a large escort. In 
the northern highlands the people, I hear, are stiU 
more savage ; they go naked, live in caverns, and 
eat raw meat. This is all I could find out about 
the Island of Hibernia and the well of St. Patrick, 
and although it is not of great interest, I send this 
account to Your Excellency, knowing the inquiring 
nature of your mind, and that you not only like to 
hear important things, but to learn the smallest 
details regarding foreign lands." ^ 

On his return to London early in August, the 
nuncio found a terrible outbreak of the sweating sick- 
ness. This mysterious illness attacked some persons 
quite suddenly, when they were walking and riding or 
travelling, and killed them in twelve, six, or even four 
hours. Nothing but corpses were seen lying about the 

1 B. Morsolin, op. cit. 


streets ; many members of the Cardinal's house- 
hold had fallen ill, and the Venetian ambassador 
was among the victims. But what grieved him 
most of all was the death of his dear friend, 
Ammonio of Lucca, the King's Latin secretary, 
who was carried off by a sudden attack that week. 
" Alas I " he wrote to Mantua, " this cruel sickness 
has robbed me of him in the short space of eight 
hours, and I am torn with a sorrow and anguish 
that can find no comfort." Leaving the stricken 
city, Chiericati hastened to the court of the Catholic 
King, at Middelburg in Zeeland, and wrote to tell 
Isabella he hoped soon to return to Italy and pay 
his respects to her in person. But urgent affairs 
forced him to travel straight to Rome, whence he 
was sent in the following spring to Spain, and 
witnessed the triumphal entry of the young King 
Charles V. into Barcelona. After sending the 
Marchesa glowing accounts of the lovely gardens 
and myrtle and orange bowers of this delicious 
land, the nuncio went on to the south of France, 
where he met the Grand Ecuyer, our old friend 
Galeazzo di Sanseverino, at Montpelier, in April 
1519. Later in the summer he was at length able 
to obtain a brief holiday and visit his friends at 
Vicenza and Mantua. 

The Marchesa welcomed Chiericati warmly, and 
acquired much valuable information from him, not 
only concerning his travels in distant lands, but 
regarding political affairs. He promised to use his 
influence on behalf of her son, both with his master 
the Pope, and with the new Emperor, Charles V., 
who was supposed to look coldly on the young 
Marquis as an ally of his rival, Francis I. The 

IN ROME 183 

nuncio succeeded in renewing friendly relations 
between the Gonzagas and this powerful monarch, 
and on his return to Rome, held repeated consulta- 
tions with Castiglione as to the best means of 
advancing his master's interests. " After leaving 
Your Excellency," he wrote to Isabella, on the 
28th of September, " I travelled straight to Rome 
and kissed the feet of the Holy Father. His 
Beatitude received me lovingly, and tells every one 
that he will not forget my labours. May God keep 
them ever before his eyes. I have written to His 
Catholic Majesty, as well as to Monseigneur de 
Chievres and others at court, and told them that 
I have been at Mantua and found Your Excellency 
and the Lord Marquis wholly devoted to His 
Majesty's service, and gave them many excellent 
reasons for retaining the friendship of your State. 
I was obliged to write in this strain in order to 
remove the unfair prejudice which had arisen in 
His Majesty's mind against Your Excellency and 
your son. And I said the same to His Majesty's 
ambassador here. If I go to Spain, I will not fail 
to let you know. It would be well to use the old 
cipher, but if it should be lost by any accident, I 
will take care to provide another." ^ 

Again, on the 26th of October, Chiericati wrote 
to give the Marchesa a few details of the treaty 
between Charles V. and the Pope, begging her to 
keep her counsel until this alliance is made public, 
and remarking that she may be glad of a few scraps 
of news, although she has so able and diligent an 
envoy as Castiglione at the Vatican. Cardinal 
Egidio, he also informed Her Excellency, con- 

1 B. Morsolin, op. cit, p. l64. 


stantly begged to be remembered to her, and wished 
her to be assured of his readiness to serve her on 
all occasions. Fortunately Pope Leo X., in spite 
of his ambitious designs against Ferrara and enmity 
to the house of Este, always retained the highest 
respect for the Marchesa, and when Castiglione re- 
turned to Mantua in November, he sent her a Latin 
letter expressing his unalterable admiration and affec- 
tion for her person. Undoubtedly the wisdom and 
diplomacy of Isabella proved of the greatest service 
to her son and State during these early years of 
his reign, and we detect the results of her influence 
at the Vatican in more than one of the pohtical 
developments which marked the last days of Leo 
%he Tenth's pontificate. The first object on which 
Isabella had set her heart was the elevation of her 
son Federico to the post of Captain-General of the 
Church. The second was the restoration of her 
younger nephew, "Francesco Sforza, to the dukedom 
which his elder brother had abdicated. Ever since 
the second conquest of Milan by the French, in 
1515, the chief partisans of the Sforzas had taken 
refuge at the Mantuan court, and, in spite of the 
Gonzagas' alliance with Francis I., had kept up secret 
communications with the young Duke of Bari, a 
brave and spirited prince who won the love of all 
his brother's old subjects.^ The hatred in which 
the French Viceroy, Lautrec, was held throughout 
Lombardy, revived the hopes of the Sforza party, 
and, from his exile at Trent, Francesco was only 
awaiting a favourable opportunity to return and 
claim his own. From the first, Isabella and her 
son secretly embraced their kinsman's cause, and 

1 Bandello, Novelle, pt i. p. 28. 


their hopes seemed on the eve of fulfiknent when, 
in May 1521, the Pope entered into a secret treaty 
with Charles V. for the expulsion of the French 
and the restoration of Francesco Sforza. 

In order to further the accomplishment of these 
designs, Castiglione w^as again sent to Rome in July 
1520. Before the end of the month, he informed 
Federico that His Holiness had consulted him on the 
advisability of appointing his master Captain- General 
of the Church. The Pope further asked him who would 
govern Mantua in the absence of the Marquis, upon 
which Castiglione replied that Madama had already 
shown herself perfectly capable of administering the 
State. This satisfied His Hohness completely, but 
he enjoined Castiglione to observe the strictest secrecy 
and allow no one but Madama and her son to hear of 
his proposal. In January 1521, the agreement was 
finally drawn up, to the great joy of Isabella, who 
saw the fulfilment of her fondest hopes in the 
appointment of her beloved son to this honourable 
post at so early an age. A few months later, the 
news was publicly announced, and excited the greatest 
rejoicing in Mantua, while both Isabella and Federico 
loaded Castiglione with their thanks and praises. 
The Count indeed deserved well of the house of 
Gonzaga, and his success in public affairs was the 
more remarkable because of the heavy private losses 
which he suffered at the time. When he came back 
to the Vatican in July, he wrote to his mother that he 
could hardly believe himself to be in Rome without 
his poor Raphael, and before he had been there a 
month, his charming young wife Ippolita, whom he 
had left so reluctantly, died a fortnight after giving 
birth to her third child. 


On the 20th of August, the poor young Countess 
sent her absent husband this touching Httle note : — 

" My dear Lord, — I have got a httle daughter, of 
which I think you will not be sorry. I have been 
much worse than I was last time, and have had three 
attacks of high fever, but to-day I feel better, and 
hope to have no more trouble. I will not try to 
write more, lest I overdo myself, but commend myself 
to you with all my heart. — Your wife who is a little 
tired out with pain, your Ippolita."^ 

Meanwhile the happy father, all unconscious of 
the impending blow, wrote cheerfully to his mother, 
rejoicing over his wife's safety and asking if the 
child's eyes were light or dark, and what name they 
proposed to give her. When the Count wrote this 
letter his wife was already dead. On the 24th of 
August she breathed her last, to the consternation of 
all her relatives and friends at Mantua. The Mar- 
chesa, in her grief and sympathy for Castiglione, sent 
a courier to Rome with letters to Cardinal Bibbiena, 
begging him to break the news as gently as possible 
to the bereaved husband, and then deliver the letters 
of condolence which she enclosed from herself and 
her son. " I know," she wrote, " that it is difficult and 
almost impossible to put any restraint on the grief 
which you must feel at the loss of anjrthing so 
precious to you as your dearest wife, who, as you 
will have heard, lately passed out of this present 
world into immortal life. And so we do not ask you 
not to sorrow, but condole most sincerely with you, 
and feel ourselves the bitterest distress both for your 
sake and because of the great love which your late 
wife had deservedly won from us." 

^ Serassi, Leitere favi. di Castiglione, i. 


When the Mantuan courier reached Rome, he 
found the Count at supper with Cardinal Bibbiena, 
who only gave him a business letter from Federico, 
and kept back the others, so that he might at least 
spend that night in peace. The next morning the 
Cardinal and some other intimate friends went to the 
Count's house and broke the news to him. "We 
told him the sad news as best we could," wrote 
Bibbiena, "and Your Excellency will understand 
how great his distress was — so much so, indeed, that 
not one of us could keep back our tears, and we aU 
wept together for some time." ^ 

"I never dreamt," Castiglione wrote the next 
day, "that my poor wife would have to take this 
journey before me. God have pity on that blessed 
soul, and may He not leave me here too long after 
her, for it is very hard to see her die first." 

After the first shock was over, the Count bore 
himself bravely, and devoted his whole energies to 
public affairs, but, as Bibbiena remarked in a letter 
to the Marquis, he suffered more than he cared to 
show, and the memory of the wife whom he had loved 
so well was never absent from his mind.^ Before 
long a fresh sorrow overtook him in the death of 
his old and faithful friend, Cardinal Bibbiena, who 
expired on the 9th of November, only seven months 
after Raphael. In him Isabella also lamented a gifted 
friend, who had served her loyally in former days, and 
who still, in spite of political changes and conflicting 
interests, professed the most devoted attachment to 
her person. 

1 Luzio e Renier, Mantova, p. 24-4. 

2 Serassi, Lettere fam., i. 15, &c. 



nie Court of Mantua under Federico — Visit of the Marquis to 
Venice — His mistress, Isabella Boschetti — The Marchesa goes 
to Loreto — The Duke of Urbino forced to leave Mantua — 
Federico leads the papal troops against the French — Capture 
of Milan — Retreat of Lautrec — Death of Pope Leo X. — 
Cardinal Gonzaga aspires to the Papacy — Election of Adrian 
VI. — Francesco Maria recovers Urbino — Francesco Sforza 
returns to Milan — Defence of Pavia by Federico, and defeat 
of the French — Isabella's new apartments in the Corte 
Vecchia — The Paradiso. 

The accession of a young and pleasure-loving prince 
to the throne produced a marked change in the court 
of Mantua, and the carnival of 1520 was celebrated 
with revived gaiety and splendour. On this occasion 
the chief feature of the festivities was the performance 
of Cardinal Bibbiena's " Calandria " under the direction 
of Castiglione,^ who had superintended the first re- 
presentation at Urbino seven years before, and who 
did not leave for Rome until July. In May, the 
young Marquis and his brother Ercole accompanied 
the Duke and the two Duchesses of Urbino to 
Venice for the Ascension fetes, and were received 
with great courtesy by the Doge and Senate. 
Federico stayed with his ambassador in Casa Foscari, 
and was entertained at a series of splendid banquets, 
processions of boats, and illuminations, given by the 
company of young patricians known as the Immortals, 

^ D'Ancona, Origini del Teatro, ii. 397. 



to which he had been lately admitted. Isabella, how- 
ever, declined to join the party, and looked coldly on 
the whole proceeding. For her son insisted on taking 
with him to Venice his great favourite, Isabella 
Boschetti, the fair young wife of his kinsman, Fran- 
cesco Gonzaga, Count of Calvisano ; and his mistress, 
as Sanuto openly calls her,^ attended mass with him 
in S. Marco and appeared at all the fetes. This is 
the first mention we find of this lady, whose influence 
over the young Marquis proved so powerful during 
the next ten years, and caused his mother so much 

In October, the Marchesa herself went on a 
pilgrimage to Loreto, after paying a visit to Ferrara, 
where her brother, the warlike Cardinal Ippolito, had 
lately died, and where Alfonso was himself ill and 
harassed by the Pope's perpetual intrigues and plots 
against him. Even Isabella and Castiglione were 
unable to effect any change in the policy of Leo, 
who looked on the Duke as his bitter foe, and was 
bent on the annexation of Ferrara to the Papal States. 
But at least Castiglione kept Alfonso aware of the 
Pope's secret designs against him, and his cipher 
letters to Mantua contain repeated warnings and 
hints, which Isabella promptly conveyed to her 

Neither did Leo the Tenth's resentment against 
the exiled Duke of Urbino show any signs of abate- 
ment. In January 1521, when he offered Federico 
the post of Captain-General, he insisted that this 
prince and his family should leave Mantua, and 
although Isabella was successful in obtaining permis- 
sion for her daughter and sister-in-law to remain in 

1 Diarii, xxviii. 529, &c. 


the town, Francesco Maria was driven to take shelter 
first at Venice and afterwards at Verona. Castighone 
meanwhile did his best to obtain more favourable 
terms for the ducal family, and wrote to assure 
Duchess Elisabetta of his unchanging loyalty and 
devotion to her, " remembering," he said, '* that the 
best years of my life were spent in your service." 
The good Duchess could only reply that she placed 
her trust in a higher Power and knelt all day in the 
churches of Mantua, praying God to bless and prosper 
her nephew's cause.^ 

In August, Federico took command of the papal 
troops and joined the imperialist general, Prospero 
Colonna, in a successful campaign against Lautrec. 
On the 19th of November, Milan was seized and the 
French retired on Cremona, only retaining a garrison 
in the Castello. The news reached Leo X. at his 
villa of La Magliana, on the 25th of November, and 
filled him with joy. Already he formed the wildest 
schemes for the advancement of his family, and 
spoke openly of inducing the Emperor to confer the 
duchy of Milan on Cardinal Medici in the place of 
Francesco Sforza. But the next day he caught cold 
out hunting, and showed symptoms of fever. On the 
30th, he became seriously ill, and died on the following 
evening, at the early age of forty-five. There was 
the usual outcry that the Pope had been poisoned, 
which Castiglione, who was at La MagUana with 
him, at one time firmly believed. But there was no 
ground for the suspicion, and the autopsy of the 
corpse satisfied the doctors that death was due to 
natural causes. 

This unexpected event excited general constema- 

^ Martinati, Notizie intorno di Castiglione. 


tion among the late Pope's friends. Not only had 
Leo X. left 300,000 ducats of debts, but the pontifical 
jewels and plate, the tiaras and mitres, even the 
silver dinner-services of the papal household and the 
costly Flemish tapestries of the Sistina, were all 
pawned. " Never," wrote the Venetian envoy, " has 
a Pope died in worse repute." And Pasquino, as 
the Mantuan, Alfonso Facino, informed Isabella, was 
equally merciless. " Like a fox Leo X. rose to power, 
like a Hon he reigned, like a dog he has died," were 
the words inscribed by some wit on the statue. " If 
1 were to describe the poverty and straits to which 
the Cardinals' College is reduced," wrote Castiglione, 
" no one would beheve me." At the same time he 
greatly lamented the Pope's death, and assured 
Federico that he had lost a true friend. " I do not 
think Your Excellency quite realises the great loss 
you have sustained, for, if I am not greatly mistaken, 
it was His Holiness's wish and intention to exalt you 
to the highest places. But God has shattered all our 
vain plans." And he concludes by urging Cardinal 
Gonzaga to come to Rome as soon as possible, since 
his arrival may lead to great results.^ 

But there were others nearly related to Federico 
who rejoiced with unfeigned satisfaction at the Pope's 
death. The Duke of Ferrara hailed the news with 
joy and struck medals with the motto. Ex ore 
Leonis — " Out of the Hon's mouth " — to commemo- 
rate his deliverance, and set to work immediately to 
recover the cities of which the Pope had deprived 
him. The Duke of Urbino was still more prompt in 
his action. He was at Maguzano on the Lake of 
Garda, spending the weary hours of his exile in 

* Contiiij Castiglione, Lettere diplomatiche. 


enforced idleness, when the news reached him. 
Without a moment's delay he hurried back to 
JNIantua, raised what troops and money he could get 
together with the help of the Marchese and the 
Duke of Ferrara, and hastened to Urbino, " called 
back/' says Guicciardini, "by the love of his sub- 
jects."^ They rose in arms with one accord, drove 
out the papal governor, and welcomed their old ruler 
back with shouts of " Feltre I Feltre I " The good 
news soon reached Mantua, and Elisabetta felt that 
her best prayers were answered, and mingled her tears 
of joy with those of Leonora and her mother. On 
the 18th of December, Isabella was able to congratu- 
late her son-in-law on his triumphant restoration, and 
a few days later Castiglione wrote to her from Rome : 
" I hear that the Duke of Urbino has recovered his 
whole State and entered Pesaro without opposition. 
God grant that he may remain there long ! " ^ 

The Pope's death had the effect of checking hos- 
tilities for a time in Lombardy. The papal army 
melted away, and Federico Gonzaga was forced to 
advance money for the payment of the small force 
which he managed to keep together in Milan. 
Francis I., who had always retained a feeling of 
friendship for the young Marquis, and had sent him 
the collar of S. Michel on his accession, took advan- 
tage of the difficult position in which he was placed, 
to invite him to enter his service. Federico court- 
eously declined the offer, but seems to have felt 
some hesitation, and consulted his mother before 
breaking off negotiations on the subject. The answer 
which Isabella sent his secretary, Stazio Gadio, in 

1 Storia d' Italia, iii. 223. 
' Serassij Lettere di Negozi. 


cipher is highly characteristic of her wise and far- 
seeing poUcy : — 

" I showed our illustrious Madama your cipher 
despatch," wrote Equicola, who had followed Fede- 
rico to the wars, but finding the hardships of the 
camp little to his taste, had obtained leave to return 
home. " She had already heard most of its con- 
tents from Signor Federico himself, who informed 
her of the eagerness with which the French are 
seeking our lord's alliance. She feels the greatest 
pleasure in seeing our Signor, her son, so highly 
esteemed and sought after by so many great powers, 
which is a clear sign that both his own merits and 
the importance of his person and State are recognised. 
But she is strongly of opinion that he should form 
no new alliance until the creation of the new Pope, 
because that will best decide our future course of 
action. Her Excellency hopes that her son may 
be able to continue in the service of the Church, 
especially if the Pope is allied with the Emperor, 
as he has been of late, because the Church will 
doubtless in the end prove victorious, and, even if 
defeated, will always be respected, and she considers 
this alliance to be the safest for this State. Of course, 
if a new Pope is elected from whom we could 
not hope for the protection and office which our 
lord received from Pope Leo, of blessed memory, 
we must seek for new allies without delay. But 
Madama certainly thinks that the new Pope, who- 
ever he may be, is sure to esteem the person of 
your Signor highly, because of his past services 
and because it has been seen in the past how im- 
portant the Marquis of Mantua is to the Church. 
This, Madama tells me, is her opinion, which I send 



you, agreeably to the wishes of our Signor, to whose 
favour I commend myself," &c.^ 

When the Marchesa dictated this letter, all eyes 
were turned to Rome, where the Conclave had 
already met and the election of the new Pope was 
hourly expected. On hearing of Leo the Tenth's 
death. Cardinal Giulio Medici, the late Pope's 
nephew, and the warlike Swiss prelate, Cardinal 
Schinner, both left the camp of the League at Milan, 
and hurried to Rome. Cardinal Gonzaga followed 
Castiglione's advice and travelled thither as fast as 
his gouty legs would carry him. Sigismondo, strange 
as it may seem, was one of the eighteen candidates 
for the Papacy on this occasion. A shrewd politi- 
cian and genial man of the world, the Mantuan 
Cardinal had always been noted for his secular 
habits. As long ago as 1498, when Lodovico Moro 
came to Mantua, Capilupi begged Isabella to see 
that Monsignore, her brother-in-law, shaved his beard 
and appeared in public in his ecclesiastical habit, or 
he might create a bad impression. In later years, he 
was described by the Venetian envoy in Rome, 
Marino Zorzi, as very fat, a martyr to gout, and 
particularly fond of eating oysters. Now Pasquino 
openly mocked at him and called him a babbling 
fool. But he was popular with his brother cardinals, 
and CastigUone left no stone unturned to promote 
his interests. His correspondence with Isabella while 
the Conclave was sitting shows how anxiously she 
awaited the result of an election which was fraught 
with issues of such importance to her house. 

" Here," he wrote, " opinions as to who the new 
Pope will be, differ more than I have ever known, 

^ D'Arco, Notisie d' Isabella, p. 86. 


God grant things may turn out better than we 
expect. ... I have worked day and night in order 
that JNIonsignore di Mantova should attain this sup- 
reme rank, and I have spoken with all of the Signori 
in this court, and although I am little skilled in these 
matters, yet from having had some acquaintance 
with these lords, I really believe that if I had been 
present at the Conclave, I might have rendered His 
Reverence important service. But if it is God's wiU 
that he shall be chosen, he will need no help from 

me Monsignore dei Medici certainly has many 

friends, but several among them have proved to be 
enemies, amongst others Cardinal Colonna. I hear 
that Signor Prospero has written him a letter, secretly 
begging him to oppose Cardinal dei Medici with all 
his might, which seems to me a piece of ingratitude." ^ 
Never had party spirit run so high, never before 
had so many different candidates been put forward. 
"There is marvellous division," wrote the English 
envoy, John Clerk,^ to Cardinal Wolsey, "and we 
were never likelier to have a schism." And the Im- 
perial Ambassador, Don Juan Manuel,^ informed his 
master that there could not be so much hatred or 
as many devils in hell itself, as there were in the 
Sacred College. Cardinal Medici, whose claims were 
supported by all the younger Cardinals and the 
Emperor, was \'iolently opposed by Francis I., who 
sent the College word that if this "man, who had 
been the cause of the war, became Pope, he and his 
whole kingdom would refuse to obey the Church." 
Henry VIII. tried in vain to obtain Wolsey 's elec- 

1 Serassi, Lettere, i. 3-5. 
* Brewer, Letters, in. pt. iL 
8 Bergenroth Calendar, 370. 


tion, and when the opposition of the Colonnas 
rendered Cardinal Medici's prospects hopeless, he and 
his friends supported Cardinal Farnese. " There was 
a report yesterday," wrote a Mantuan agent to 
Isabella, " that Farnese was Pope, and his house was 
nearly sacked I Several couriers set off with the 
news, but it turned out to be false, and when his 
servants were seen in the streets, the mob jeered at 
them, and cried out, *Make room for the Pope's 
servants I '" ^ 

As the Conclave prolonged its sittings, the popular 
excitement grew more intense. Party spirit ran high, 
and bets were freely given and taken on the chances 
of the different favourites. " To-day," wrote Abbot 
Lodovico Gonzaga to Federico, " Farnese, who went 
up 50 per cent, two days ago, has gone down to 
18, and our Cardinal has dropped to 13 per cent. 
My dear lord, I confess I am much afraid of the 
result. To-day there is great murmuring in Rome, 
and the Cardinals are threatened with bread and 
water if they do not make haste." ^ 

When, at length, on the 9th of January, the 
election of Adrian of Utrecht, Cardinal of Tortosa, 
the Emperor's former tutor, and now his Viceroy 
in Spain, was announced, a cry of rage and dismay 
burst from the Roman mob. " The city," wrote the 
Venetian, " is full of weeping and curses." JRoma est 
hcanda was written up on the Vatican. At first it 
seemed almost impossible to believe that a "barba- 
rian," whose name was almost unlaiown, and who was 
not even present at the Conclave, should be elected 
Pope. The Cardinals themselves could not explain 

1 Luzio, Giom. St. d. Lett. It., xix. 83. 
« Rid, 


tlieir action, and slunk home, ashamed and dejected, 
amid the hisses and jeers of the crowd. Alone among 
his comrades Cardinal Gonzaga preserved his com- 
posure, and smilingly thanked the mob for being 
content with curses, and not revenging their wrongs 
with stones I And the same evening he addressed 
the following letter to Isabella : — 

" To-day these excellent Cardinals and myself 
have at length come out of the Conclave, where 
we have spent a fortnight in the greatest discomfort 
and fatigue, both of body and mind, owing to our 
endless quarrels. And after all this, we have — no 
doubt according to the will of God, since all is 
ordered by Him — elected a Pope who is, as people 
say, a holy man. I, for one, have never seen him. 
As for my own disappointment, I did my best, and 
cannot complain that any of these Cardinals deceived 
me. Only this unexpected event, which was never 
dreamt of by me or any one else, has shattered my 
hopes. Just when I felt sure of reaching the desired 
end, the greater part of the Cardinals went and gave 
their votes to this man, simply as a means of throw- 
ing them away, without knowing what the others 
were doing, and when all the votes were read out, 
he was found to have no less than fifteen 1 My 
plans have not succeeded. No I and I caimot pre- 
tend that I am not very much disappointed ; but at 
least I have realised the esteem in which I am held 
by my colleagues, and must hope for better luck 
another time." ^ 

Federico, as Captain-General of the Church, re- 
ceived the news of Adrian VI. 's election on the 
same day, both from Don Juan Manuel, who, with 

^ Luzio, op. cit., xix. 8H. 


all the Imperial party, rejoiced at the election of 
their master's nominee, and from the disappointed 
candidate, Cardinal Medici, who wrote a hurried 
note to the Marquis as he left the Conclave, giving 
the new Pope's name without any comment. The 
last-named prelate was anxious to keep up the same 
friendly relations with the Gonzagas as before, and 
Isabella on her part lost no opportunity of strength- 
ening her son's position. Castiglione succeeded in 
obtaining Federico's confirmation in his office from 
the new Pope, and Adrian's surrender of the duchy 
of Urbino to its rightful lord. And when, in 
February 1522, Cardinal Medici sent a confidential 
envoy from Florence to the Emperor, he spent a 
night at Mantua, and was closeted with Madama 
la Marchesana during more than two hours.^ The 
Venetian ambassador reported that the said envoy, 
Giovanni Matteo dei Medici, was sent by the Car- 
dinal to arrange the terms of the agreement between 
Florence and the Duke of Urbino, and to propose 
a marriage between Francesco Maria's little son 
Guidobaldo and Caterina, the infant daughter of 
his old rival, Lorenzo dei Medici. In the same inter- 
view, he adds, Madama eloquently pleaded the cause 
of her brother the Duke of Ferrara, and her nephew 
the Duke of Milan, and desired the Florentine envoy 
to lay her requests before the Emperor. The result 
of these negotiations soon appeared in the arrival of 
Francesco Sforza at Mantua. Although the young 
Duke's chancellor Morone had taken possession of 
Milan in his name, he himself had been detained at 
Trent for lack of money and troops to fight his way 
through the Swiss mercenaries in the pay of the 

* M. Sanuto, Diarii, xxxii. 457. 


French king, and it was only in March that he was 
strong enough to descend into Italy. On the 12th 
of March, Castiglione wrote from Rome to the 
Marchesa, complaining that every one had letters 
from Her Excellency but himself, and that he felt 
very unhappy, since Madama had not written for 
a thousand years ! " God grant," he exclaims, " that 
your secretaries may be a Httle more diligent in 
future I " "I rejoice exceedingly," he goes on, " to 
hear that the Signor Marchese is soon to escort 
the Duke of Milan to his home, which is here held 
for certain." And in a postscript he adds that 
a messenger has just arrived who had seen the 
Signor Duca himself in Mantua. " God send us 
soon news that the French are beaten, and that the 
Signor Duca is not only at Mantua, but in Milan I " ^ 
A few days later he heard that the Marquis, at 
the head of 300 men, had escorted his cousin to 
Pavia, and that Francesco Sforza had entered Milan 
between Prospero Colonna and Antonio de Leyva, 
the Captains of the League, and had been received 
with incredible joy and love by his father's old sub- 
jects. Lautrec now concentrated all his forces on 
Pavia, which was valiantly defended by Federico 
Gonzaga, who successfully repulsed a determined 
assault of the French, and, in spite of the small 
number of his force and the lack of artillery, com- 
pelled them to retire to Monza. On the 27th of 
April, a decisive battle took place between Lautrec's 
army and the forces of the League under Prospero 
Colonna and the Duke of Milan, in which the com- 
bined French and Swiss troops were completely 
defeated. After this, Lautrec retreated across the 

^ Serassi, op. cit. 


Alps, and Cremona and the Castello of Milan were 
the only fortresses which remained in the hands of 
King Francis. Federico acquired great fame by his 
brilliant feats of arms, and was welcomed with great 
rejoicing on his return to Mantua after this victorious 
campaign. Isabella received congratulations from all 
sides, and could not contain her pride and joy in her 
son's triumph. 

" I will only send a brief reply to Your Excel- 
lency's letter to-day," wrote Castiglione, "for I think 
you must be so proud and happy that you can hardly 
care to read my letters, or those of any one else, and 
that with good reason, since, as you write, you have 
never seen the Signor Marchese look as handsome 
as he does now, and it is certain that you have never 
before seen him so glorious and renowned. If His 
Excellency wins as much fame in the next ten years 
of his life as he has done in the last ten months, 
the world will hardly be able to contain his glory. 
Never have I heard a youth in ancient or modern 
times praised as he is to-day. God grant others may 
follow in his steps, and then not only Mantua, but all 
Italy will have much to glory in I " ^ 

Fortune seemed indeed just then to smile on 
Isabella, and her dearest hopes were crowned with 
success. In May the Duchesses of Urbino returned 
to Urbino. Leonora's young son Guidobaldo was 
left at Mantua as a hostage in his uncle's hands, 
and began to learn Latin and to read Virgil under 
his grandmother's watchful eye. For a time peace 
was restored to the ill-fated Milanese, and Isabella 
saw with joy how her nephew endeared himself to 
his subjects. Although little of her correspondence 

* Serassi, op. cit. 


with Francesco Sforza has been preserved, the young 
Duke remained on affectionate terms with his aunt, 
as we see by the following letter, which he wrote in 
reply to her urgent request that he would endeavour to 
make his uncle Alfonso's peace with the Emperor : — 
" Most Illustrious Lady, my honoured Aunt and 
Mother, — The other day I received a letter from 
Your Excellency which gave me the greatest pleasure, 
only I was quite sorry to see that it was written by 
your own hand, for you ought really not to take so 
much trouble for me, seeing I am always satisfied with 
your signature. Since then Grossino has given me 
Your Excellency's message, and I am exceedingly 
glad to hear how much you desire to see your illus- 
trious brother, my honoured lord and uncle, reconciled 
with His Cesarean Majesty, and to learn that you 
wish me to do my best, in order that His Majesty 
may accept the Duke as his loyal servant and 
receive him into favour. Your Excellency knows 
how much reverence and affection I bear to you, and 
may rest assured that during the last days I have 
done my utmost in this quarter, and have exerted 
myself as vigorously as if it had been on behalf of 
my own person and State. I wrote both to the 
Viceroy and to His Majesty, as well as to those 
particular friends of mine at his court, who are 
persons of great influence, and will, I know, do their 
best, and I feel sure that the Lord Duke's quarrel will 
be made up with His Majesty, and through him with 
His Holiness. If I had not desired this already on 
my own account, the sense of Your Excellency's great 
anxiety on the subject would be enough to make me 
promise on my honour to do my utmost both with 
His Caesarean Majesty and in the other quarter. 


But this is both my duty and my inclination, and 
I desire the settlement of the Lord Duke's affairs as 
sincerely as that of my own. I remember who my 
father and mother were, and desire the good of the 
house of Este as much as I care for the prosperity of 
the house of Sforza. Could I ever wish that State 
should belong to the Church and the name of that 
house be extinct? Certainly not. My mother, of 
blessed memory, was, I know well, your sister, and I 
am not ashamed, but very proud, as I may well be, of 
having had such a mother. Grossino tells me that 
Your Excellency begs me to put away and forget 
any disagreement there may have been in the past 
between the Duke and myself. But there has never 
been anything of the kind which could make me wish 
for his ruin. It is no doubt true that I wish His 
Excellency would become the servant of the Emperor 
and not of the King of France ; but whether this, 
which I hope to see ere long, be the case or not, I 
assure you that His Excellency is as much the master 
of my State as of Ferrara, and that I honour him 
with the respect of a son for his father and lord. 
Your Excellency knows that I am ever your obedient 
nephew, son, and servant, and I humbly commend 
myself to you. — Francesco, Duke of Milan."* 
Pavia, August 12, 1520. 

On a subsequent occasion, when the Marchesa 
had an unfortunate difference with her son, who had 
thrown one of her confidential servants, Leonello 
Marchese, the lawyer who had made her husband's 
will, into prison to gratify his mistress, Isabella 
Boschetti, she sent the novelist, Matteo Bandello, 
to entreat the Duke of Milan to use his influence 

1 Luzio, Archivio St. Lombardo, 1901, p. 170. 


with his cousin on behalf of the innocent man. 
Francesco promptly complied with her request, and 
sent the wisest and most able jurist at Milan, Bene- 
detto Tonso, back with Bandello to Mantua to ask 
for Marchese's release.^ 

In after years Isabella herself was able to render 
her nephew important services and help him to re- 
cover the Emperor's favour at a critical moment. 
For the present, however, Italy enjoyed a brief 
interval of peace, and Isabella was once more able to 
put poUtical affairs aside and turn her attention to 
pleasanter subjects. One of these was the decoration 
of her new apartments in the Corte Vecchia. A year 
after her husband's death, Isabella, who had long felt 
cramped in the small rooms of the Castello, obtained 
her son's consent to move into the Corte Vecchia, 
where she already kept her library and works of art 
in the Grotta on the ground floor. Federico on his 
part was glad to occupy the Castello himself, and in 
October 1520 he addressed the following letter to his 
cousins, the sons of Gianfrancesco and Antonia del 
Balzo. These three princes — Lodovico, who after his 
wife's death took orders and became known as the 
Abate Gonzaga ; Federico of Bozzolo, the gallant 
captain in the service of Francis I. ; and Pirro, the 
lord of Gazzuolo — had hitherto been allowed the use 
of a palace in Mantua, close to the Castello. This 
house the Marquis now asked them to give up to the 
Duke and Duchesses of Urbino, in order to leave the 
Corte Vecchia free for his mother's use. "As you 
may already know, our illustrious mother has for 
several months past wished to lodge for the future in 
the Corte Vecchia, both for her convenience and for 

^ Bandello, Novelle, pt ii. 56. 


our own, and has had the rooms in this building 
repaired and altered after her own taste in the best 
and most suitable manner. One thing, however, 
which is of great importance, still remains to be 
settled. That is to provide rooms for the illustrious 
Duke and Duchesses, our honoured brother-in-law, 
nephew, aunt, and sister, because it is impossible that 
all of these different households should occupy the 
same palace as that of the said Madama, our mother, 
without inconveniencing each other. After much 
consultation on the subject, Madama and we our- 
selves feel that the only place suitable for the said 
Duke and Duchesses is the palace which Your High- 
ness occupies in the Piazza di Mantova, together 
with your illustrious brothers, to whom I am writing 
the same thing. And since we desire the comfort of 
Madama, our mother, above all else, and are far more 
anxious for this than for our own convenience, we 
pray Your Highness to have the goodness to give up 
the said palace." 

A splendid suite of sixteen rooms for the Mar- 
chesa's use was accordingly prepared by the architect 
Viani and the Mantuan painter Leombruno in the 
Corte Vecchia. To-day only the so-called Scalcheria 
retains any remains of the original decoration. Here 
Leombruno, who had been sent to Rome to study 
the works of Raphael and Michel Angelo under 
Castighone's direction, by his employers, painted a 
series of hunting scenes on the walls, and adorned 
the ceiling with a fresco in imitation of Mantegna's 
Sala degli Sposi. But on the frieze of the coi^tile or 
garden court opening from the Grotta, above the 
delicately carved Ionic pillars and niches, adorned 
with marble mosaics, which held Isabella's choicest 


antiques, we may still read the following inscription : 
^^ Isabella Estensis, regum Aragonum neptis, ducum 
Ferrarice Jilia et soror, Marchioruvi Gonzagarum con- 
jux et mater, fecit anno a partu Virginis, MDXXII." 
From this we learn the exact date of these additions to 
the Grotta, which were evidently completed in 1522. 
To the same period we may ascribe the beautiful 
suite of Camerini on the upper floor of the same build- 
ing, known as the Paradiso, from the lovely views 
which it commands over the terraced gardens and wide 
lakes. These four little rooms which Isabella kept 
for her private use still retain much of their original 
decoration — ^the finely carved wood-work, the azure 
and gilding of the ceiling, the delicately inlaid panelling 
of the walls, and the doors of richly coloured marbles. 
Here, between intarsiatura views of cities and palaces, 
we recognise her favourite devices and mottoes, the 
musical notes and rests, and the words Nee spe nee 
metUy which supplied Equicola with a subject for his 
treatise, the altar supporting a lyre, the candelabra 
with the letters U.T.S., which Paolo Giovio interprets 
as Unum sufficit in tenehris, and the Lotto cards 
with the mystic number XXVII., vinti sette, signify- 
ing that she had vanquished all her foes — which 
motto, adds the Bishop of Nocera, " seems allowable 
in so great a princess."^ Here we see the white 
marble door adorned with medallions of antique 
myths, of Orpheus and Athene and Calliope, by 
the hand of the great sculptor Cristoforo Romano, 
which was brought here from the Marchesa's Studio 
in the Castello, as weU as another marble door of 
later workmanship, which was probably executed by 
the Venetian Tullio Lombardo in 1523. And here 

' Paolo Giovio, Delle Imprese, p. 59- 


too we may still find Isabella's name, repeated at 
intervals upon the panelled frieze, and remember 
that the peaceful days of her declining years were 
spent in these sunny little rooms looking over the 
bright waters to Virgil's birthplace, and the green 
meadows through which the Mincio flows to join 
the Po.^ The decoration of these new apartments 
occupied a large share of Isabella's time and thoughts 
in these years. We find her writing to Rome 
and Venice for marbles, asking her agents to send 
her antique busts and bas-reliefs, and collecting 
works of art with all her old energy. Castiglione, as 
usual, was one of her chief assistants, and his letters 
from Rome were by no means exclusively devoted to 
State affairs. One day he sends her a full account of 
the carnival fetes and comedies at the Vatican, cold and 
lifeless as he confesses them to have seemed to him 
this year ; another, he collects the latest and most 
scurrilous verses of Pasquino for her benefit, or 
tells her how Bandello's friend, the witty story-teller, 
Strascino, has been amusing His Holiness with his 
comic recitations, and is promptly desired to send 
him to Mantua for the next carnival. At one time 
he tells her of a reUef which Caradosso, questo mala- 

1 Some years ago, a model of Isabella d'Este's Studio in this 
apartment of the Paradiso, designed by the well-known French 
writer M.Charles Yriarte,was placed in the Italian Court in the South 
Kensington Museum. The decorations of the walls and ceiling are 
carefully reproduced, but M. Yriarte was mistaken in supposing 
that the fine tempera paintings by Mantegna, Costa and Perugino 
ever adorned these Camerini. These pictures were originally exe- 
cuted for Isabella's Studio of the Grotta on the ground floor of the 
Corte Vecchia, and remained there, as we know from inventories 
and documents published by D'Arco (^Arte e Artefici, ii.), until after 
the sack of Mantua in l630. 

[I'hoto, rrciiii, Maiitiui,. 


[To Jace p. 206, vol. ii. 


detto vecchio, promised him long ago, but has not 
yet finished. "I go to see him every day, and he 
works at the design all the while, and says he 
wishes to make it as beautiful as possible, because it 
is the last that he will ever do in his life, and he is 
so old, this may well be the case."^ Another day 
he describes a wonderful alabaster organ, a most ex- 
cellent work, which he has succeeded in buying for 
600 ducats, and hopes to send her if it is possible to 
find a sufficient number of mules to convey the pre- 
cious instrument to Mantua. But he must take care 
to elude the custom-house officers of Rome, who are 
the greatest rogues in the world, and ask no less than 
200 ducats I " If I can manage this," he remarks, " I 
think I shall have worked a miracle I " But the 
Count was indefatigable where his mistress's pleasure 
was concerned, and by the end of August 1522, the 
different portions of the organ were loaded on the 
backs of ten mules, and sent to Mantua, in the charge 
of the " master of organs " who had made the instru- 
ment. We do not hear if the papal officials exacted 
the whole of their 200 ducats, or if Castiglione was 
able to obtain an exemption in the Marchesa's favour, 
but the alabaster organ reached Mantua safely, and 
was placed in the Studio of the Grotta.^ 

All through that year the works in the Castello 
were in progress, and while the Marquis was absent 
in Lombardy, Mario Equicola wrote daily reports 
of the latest improvements that had been effected. 
"These splendid rooms with all their pictures make me 
feel," he writes in February 1522, " as if I were hving 
in the days when the Romans raised those monu- 

* Luzio, Nuova Antologia, 1896, p. 308. 
2 Bertolotti, Ariisti, &c. 


ments which are the wonders of the world ! In Your 
Excellency's bedroom are four tondi, and one large 
panel where Fame might be represented between War, 
Victory, Virtue, and Hope. In the Camera della Fede 
your portrait might be hung with representations of 
ancient heroes who have kept faith. ..." As for the 
stables (always an important part of the Mantuan 
palace), they are so fine that he wishes he were a horse 
to live there I and suggests that Virgil's line should 
be written over the doors : " Hinc bellator equus 
campo sese arduus infert."^ 

1 Luzio, Giom. St. d. Lett., 1900, p. 15. 



Ercole Gonzaga — Isabella tries to obtain his elevation to the 
Cardinalate — Consults Castiglione and Trissino as to the 
choice of a tutor — Sends Ercole to Bologna — He attends 
Pomponazzi's lectures — The great sceptic — His " Treatise on 
Immortality" burnt at Venice — Ercole's life at college — M. 
Lazzaro his teacher — Death of Pietro Pomponazzi — Veneration 
of Ercole Gonzaga for his memory. 

While Isabella lavished her tenderest affections on 
her eldest son, Federico, she did not neglect her 
younger children. She was especially anxious to 
give her second son, Ercole, who was destined for 
the Church, and already showed a genuine taste 
for letters, the best possible education. At fifteen 
Ercole was consecrated Bishop, and appointed co- 
adjutor to his uncle, Cardinal Sigismondo. But 
his mother's ambition soared still higher, and in the 
last months of Leo the Tenth's life, she made great 
efforts to obtain a Cardinal's hat for the youthful 
prelate. Several letters on the subject passed be- 
tween her and Castiglione, and only a week before 
the Pope's death the Marchesa renewed her request, 
and desired the Count to inform His Holiness that 
she had decided to send Ercole to complete his 
studies at the University of Bologna. The sudden 
close of Leo the Tenth's Ufe put an end to these 
hopes. Not only was there already one Cardinal 
in the Gonzaga family, but among the reforms 
VOL. IL ^ o 


agreed upon by the Sacred College before the open- 
ing of the Conclave there was an express stipulation 
that no Cardinal was to be elected who was under 
thirty. For the present, therefore, Isabella devoted 
her attention to her son's studies, and begged Castig- 
Uone to find him a tutor in Rome. The Count 
promised to do his best. " As regards the choice 
of a tutor for Signor Ercole," he wrote, " I will do 
as you wish, and hope the tutor will not be so 
distinguished that the pupil will not be able to 
prove himself worthy of him I " But his attempts 
proved unsuccessful, and he had to leave the task to 
other friends. 

" I hope next to hear that Signor Ercole has 
been well provided with a tutor," he wrote in May 
1522, when Federico's triumphs were the subject 
of general congratulation. " I know how near to 
Your Excellency's heart this wish Hes, and I con- 
fidently expect this will add to the praise of his 
illustrious brother, from whom I hope still greater 
things. May God prosper these princes as they 
deserve ! " ^ 

The Marchesa next applied to her old friend 
Trissino on the subject. The Vicentine humanist 
had risen high in the favour of both Pope and 
Emperor of late years, and had been employed by 
Leo X. on several deUcate missions. But he re- 
tained his old devotion for Isabella, and in December 
1521, sent her a canzone which he had composed, in 
Petrarch's style, in her honour, saying that as it was 
the custom of the Greeks to offer the first-fruits of 
their genius to the gods, so he inscribed this canzone^ 
which was the first-fruits of his Muse, to her as 

^ Serassi, Leitere di Negozi. 


the goddess of the age. In these verses the poet 
celebrated the charms of the Marchesa, and sang 
of her golden hair, her dark eyebrows and bright 
eyes, the liUes and roses of her complexion, and the 
exquisite sweetness of her voice, with a flattery 
which Isabella herself recognised to be excessive. 
"Dearest friend," she wrote in answer, "we have 
read the learned and elegant canzone in which it 
pleases you to honour us by praising us much 
more than is convenient, but since this is a licence 
allowed to poets — among whom you are foremost 
in the present age — who are permitted to soar be- 
yond the limits of their subject, we do not reject 
your compliments, but thank you exceedingly for 
the canzone, and for repeating your old promise to 
send us some more of your poetical compositions. 
And we wish your Muse all the ease, peace and 
tranquillity that are needful for her future welfare." 

In the following July, when Ercole's future 
was still undecided, the Marchesa begged Trissino 
to come to Mantua, not only that she might enjoy 
the pleasure of his conversation, but that he might 
give her the benefit of his advice. " One of our 
sons, Ercole," she continues, "shows great intel- 
ligence and takes much pleasure in study, and 
what pleases us especially, and we take to be a 
good sign, is that he delights in the conversation 
of scholars. We should hke you to talk to him 
of books, and give us a faithful report of the 
judgment which you form of his abilities, and tell 
us if it seems to you he is in the right way to attain 
to some degree of perfection in letters, which ought 
not to be difficult for one of his studious and docile 
nature. In this we should like to have your advice, 


which will, we know, be as wise as it is kind. But, 
as we said before, we do not wish to cause you 
any inconvenience, and although we ask you to visit 
us now, we hope you will choose your own time, 
as the matter is not so urgent that it will not brook 
a few weeks' delay. But we should be glad if you 
could send us word when you hope to be able to 
come, so that we may know when to expect you." ^ 

Trissino came to Mantua in October, and during 
his visit the Marchesa decided to carry out her 
original intention, and send her son to complete 
his studies at Bologna. The chief reason which 
prompted this determination was the presence of 
the famous scholar, Pietro Pomponazzi, commonly 
known among his pupils as Maestro Peretto, at 
this university. A native of Mantua, Pomponazzi 
had grown up under the shadow of the Gonzaga 
princes, and owed much of his success to their pro- 
tection. In 1488, the Marquis Francesco had re- 
commended him to the Signory of Venice for the 
chair of philosophy at Padua, and when that uni- 
versity was closed during the wars of the League 
of Cambray, he obtained a similar post at Ferrara 
through the Marchesa's influence. Since 1512, he 
had filled the chair of philosophy at Bologna, where 
his lectures attained a world-wide reputation. Here 
four years later he wrote his famous " Treatise on 
the Immortality of the Soul," in which he boldly 
declared that the truth of this doctrine was incapable 
of logical proof, and had never been maintained by 
Aristotle. This startling assertion aroused much 
debate in ecclesiastical circles, and Pomponazzi's 
treatise was pubUcly burnt by the Franciscans 

* B. Morsolin, op. cit. 


in Venice. But the great teacher had powerful 
friends at the Vatican in the persons of Cardinal 
Bibbiena and Bembo, and after the publication of 
an Apologia^ in which he explained his meaning 
and submitted himself to the Church, the clamour 
gradually died away. This Apologia^ which ap- 
peared in 1518, was dedicated to Cardinal Gonzaga, 
and Isabella now gave a fresh proof of her con- 
fidence in the master by committing her son to 
his charge. On the 8th of December 1522, she 
wrote to Pomponazzi as follows : " Dear and 
honoured Master, — Our beloved son, the Reverend 
and Illustrious Signor Ercole, is coming to study 
at Bologna, and although we know that you will 
not fail to give him faithful counsel and guidance, 
so that he may attain to that perfection which he 
seeks, and which we supremely desire for him, yet 
as a good mother we cannot fail to commend him 
to you ourselves, and assure you that the good 
offices which you show him shall be most gratefully 
acknowledged by us." ^ 

Three days afterwards, Ercole arrived at Bologna, 
and wrote to his mother the next day, with all a 
boy's delight, to tell her of the kindly reception he 
had met with, and how much pleased he was with 
the excellent rooms which her loving care had 

" Most excellent and illustrious Lady and dearest 
Mother, — On my arrival yesterday, a great cavalcade 
rode out to meet me about eight miles from Bologna. 
First came my cousin, Pirro Gonzaga [the son of 
Lodovico of Gazzuolo and Francesca de' Fieschi], with 
sixty other scholars, mostly of Mantuan birth, on horse- 

1 Luzio in Giorn. Stor., viii. 374, &c. 


back. These dismounted, and Pirro and I embraced 
each other tenderly. A little further we met a troop of 
Bolognese gentlemen, who all rejoiced at my coming ; 
and yet further on came my dear Maestro Pietro 
himself, with a number of learned doctors, who had 
ridden some way out of the town to meet me. So I 
entered Bologna about four o'clock with a train of 
200 horsemen, and the streets and gateways were 
crowded with men, and women stood at all the 
windows crying out ' Gonzaga I ' When I reached 
my house I saw that its owner, Aliprando, had 
decorated the doorway with festoons of evergreens 
and shields bearing the arms of our house, of the 
Pope, and of the governor and people of Bologna. 
After taking leave of these gentlemen, I got off my 
horse and visited my rooms, which pleased me 
immensely. First of all you enter a beautiful little 
salottOf hung with the tapestries which I had sent on, 
as well as several pictures in frames, which look very 
well, and containing a bed hung with crimson damask 
embroidered with various devices. From this room 
you enter a smaller one, also hung with tapestry, and 
containing two couches, one draped with cloth of 
gold, the other covered with linen. Within, there 
is a third room, with a couch hung with crimson 
velvet and cloth of gold, which I will use as a study. 
Certainly these lodgings are most excellent, and all 
my servants are quite satisfied, and indeed the house 
is as good and comfortable as possible. Last night 
my cousin Pirro and some of our Mantuan scholars 
supped with me. I kiss your hands reverently. — 
Your son, Ercole." ^ 

The next day Ercole arranged his books, called 

1 Luzio, op. cit. 


on M. Pietro, and was introduced to the beadle and 
lecturers of the university. The following morning 
he went on foot to pay his respects to the governor, 
who took him to mass at S. Salvadore, and on his 
return found a deputation from the citizens awaiting 
him with a splendid gift of confetti, wax candles, 
game, corn, and salt meat, as well as a calf and some 
pheasants and partridges, which M. Pietro himself 
had sent the young prince. " I cannot tell Your 
Excellency," wrote Vincenzo de' Preti, the Mantuan 
tutor, who had accompanied Ercole to Bologna, " what 
numbers of trumpeters and pifferari surround the 
house, or how many visits my lord has received 
to-day from the Rector of the College and other 
gentlemen and scholars. Not only the halls, but 
the loggia and courtyard were crowded with visitors 
all day. It was only towards evening that Ercole 
was able to escape from his callers and ride out to 
visit the Church of S. Michele in Bosco on the hill- 
side, and which seemed to him a most pleasant and 
dehghtful place." Meanwhile, Archdeacon Gabbio- 
neta had, by Isabella's desire, consulted Pomponazzi 
as to the choice of a tutor for her son, and Vincenzo 
informed her that he strongly recommended M. 
Lazzaro Buonamici of Bassano, an able and learned 
teacher who was acquainted with Castlglione and 
Mario Equicola. But the honest servant was con- 
siderably perturbed to find that this tutor's fee would 
be 170 ducats — that is to say, 20 ducats more than 
the Marchesa wished to give. Isabella, however, 
knew better than to haggle over prices in this case, 
and wrote back promptly, saying: "As to your 
arrangement with Messer Lazzaro, it seems to me 
that so excellent a man, and one who will help our 


son as much as you say, is not to be lost for the sake 
of so paltry a sum as 20 or 30 ducats, and I hope 
you will do your best to secure his services." So 
Messer Lazzaro was duly engaged, and replied in 
an eloquent Latin epistle to the Marchesa's urgent 
request that he would lead her son to the glorious 
goal which he had set before him. 

Then work began in good earnest. M. Lazzaro 
read Cicero and Aristotle every afternoon with Er- 
cole in his own house, and in the evenings he 
attended M. Pietro's lectures. On the first occasion 
on which the prince appeared at a public lecture, 
Pomponazzi made a little speech, exhorting him 
to persevere in the right way, and speaking of 
his mother as Sanctissima Mater tua, Isabella, in 
terms which moved many of his hearers to tears ! 
The good Mantuan tutor, De' Preti, was greatly 
edified at the sight of his charge's new fervour. 
" Madama mia" he wrote, " Signor Ercole shows a 
far greater zeal for learning and devotion to study 
than he ever showed at Mantua. He does not 
merely listen to M. Peretto, he adores him ; so, if 
God gives him grace to go on as he has begun, it is 
certain that he will become a famous man of letters. 
On my part I did my duty, as a faithful servant, by 
telling him that he must persevere in his studies here 
at Bologna, as those do who enter the religious life, 
and thus gain immortal fame both in this world and 
in the next. Upon which he replied that I might be 
quite sure he would not return to Your Excellency 
an ignorant man. . . . And every one here says that 
they have never seen a more zealous scholar. God 
keep him ever in the same excellent disposition I " ' 

• ^ Luzio, op, cit. 


A week later De' Preti reports : " To-day M. Lazzaro 
began to read Tully with Signor Ercole, and has fixed 
one o'clock as the most convenient hour for his 
lesson, which also suits my lord, who intends to 
devote the mornings to philosophy. Every day 
Messer Pietro comes about four to fetch my lord, 
and takes him to the Studio, where he resides, and 
his lecture to-day was on the ' Meteora ' of Aristotle, 
and a very delightful one it was. Signor Ercole 
shows the greatest courtesy both to M. Pietro and 
M. Lazzaro, and Your Excellency cannot think how 
good and charming he is to every one." 

From the first the great teacher seems to have 
fascinated Ercole with the glamour of his person- 
ality. A man of short stature and square build, 
with an enormous head and closely-shaven ftice, 
M. Peretto's appearance often excited ridicule, and 
Bandello tells us how, when he came to deliver 
an oration at Modena, certain ladies of fashion, 
meeting this ugly Httle man with a bald head and 
shabby clothes, took him for a German Jew, and 
called him Maestro Abram.^ But when he began 
to lecture, his whole being underwent a strange trans- 
formation. His eyes glowed with fire, his countenance 
shone with enthusiasm, and his eloquent and im- 
passioned words stirred the hearts of his audience 
with irresistible might. He had the power of impart- 
ing interest to the dullest subject, and his Uvely and 
caustic wit, as well as his frequent allusions to con- 
temporary events and personages, added greatly to 
his popularity as a lecturer. Isabella herself felt 
doubly rewarded for the pains which she had taken 
with her son's education when M. Peretto himself 

^ Novelle, pt. iii. 38. 


wrote to tell her how industriously Ercole applied 
himself to his studies, and how much heloved he was 
both by his teachers and comrades, " which things," 
as she said in her reply, " are the pleasures and fruits 
which every loving mother desires and all good 
children yield." And she begged M. Pietro to 
keep watch over the boy, so that she might feel 
as satisfied as if she herself were at his side. Both 
Ercole's teachers were able to give his mother 
excellent reports of his progress during the next 
term. Pomponazzi wrote to her after Christmas: 
"M. Lazzaro reads every day with Signor Ercole, 
and I have asked his opinion of this Signor several 
times. He commends him highly, and thinks that 
he will do very well in Greek and Latin. He finds 
him eager to learn, and tells me that he has an 
excellent nature, and is full of kindness and goodness, 
and certainly he appears so to me and to all who 
know him in this town." Later on, Vincenzo wrote : 
" Work goes on gaily both morning and night. M. 
Lazzaro has great hopes of my lord, and M. Pietro 
approves of his beginnings, and is quite satisfied with 
what he hears from Gianfrancesco Fomo, who is 
weU versed in humanism." Forno was a young 
Modenese of noble birth, a favourite pupil of M. 
Peretto, who was appointed to read with Ercole and 
who afterwards accompanied him to Mantua in the 

Even at Bologna, however, students had their 
amusements, and Vincenzo's daily reports show that 
the young lord's time was not wholly consumed in 
arduous studies. One morning he rides out early to 
see the charming house of the Benedictines at the 
Madonna del Monte ; another evening he sups with 


a gay party of fellow-students, whose riotous mirth 
sometimes leads to serious consequences. On one 
occasion a Mantuan friend of Ercole, who shared his 
studies and board, quarrelled with a ISIodenese youth 
and wounded him mortally, upon which the prince 
sent him away. At Christmas the. feste were cele- 
brated with all manner of entertainments, laurel 
wreaths were hung on Ercole's door, and at the end 
of lectures the college beadle recited comic verses in 
his honour amid great merriment. When the week's 
vacation was over, Ercole and his cousin Pirro attended 
an anatomical course, and, together with many painters 
and sculptors, were present at the dissection of the 
corpse of a thief who had been hung. 

Like other young men at college, Ercole often 
found himself short of funds, and, although he was 
never as extravagant in his expenditure as his brothers, 
his tutor more than once had recourse to his mother, 
begging her to send him money by the next courier, 
since he was reduced to his last penny 1 

An attack of ague interrupted his studies that 
winter, and, by his doctor's advice, he only worked in 
the morning for some time. After carnival he resolved 
to make up for lost time. He attended lectures on 
logic, read Cicero's Letters, and composed Latin 
epistles for M. Lazzaro, often working late into the 
night. So diligent was the young prince that his 
master allowed him to pay a flying visit to Mantua 
at Easter, after which he remained at Bologna until 
the August vacation, which lasted three months. 
Isabella had every reason to be satisfied with her 
son's progress, and, at Pomponazzi's recommendation, 
Ercole was granted a dispensation from the daily 
recital of the breviary, in order to have more time 


for his classical studies. He also began to read 
Arabic with Fomo, and engaged an Arab servant to 
help him acquire the language.^ His teachers all 
found him a docile and inteUigent scholar, and 
Lazzaro, who afterwards became professor of Greek 
at Padua, remained all his life on friendly terms with 
his old pupil. But Pomponazzi inspired him with 
a still deeper feeling, and the death of the great 
teacher, on the 18th of JSIay 1525, was a heavy blow 
to him. 

The philosopher had long suffered from internal 
complications, which caused him acute pain at times, 
and in the end reduced him to a state of complete 
nervous prostration. In his suffering, he refused to 
take food, saying it was better to die once for all 
than to endure such continual agony. His pupil, 
Antonio Broccardo, the poet whose mournful and 
romantic features live for us in Giorgione's portrait, 
wrote a private letter to his father, giving a memor- 
able account of the great sceptic's last moments. " On 
the seventh night of his fatal illness, when his end 
was hourly expected, he was heard to say, ' 1 depart 
with joy.' ' Where are you going ? ' asked a friend 
who stood at his bedside, eager to learn the master's 
secret. ' Where all mortals go,' was Pomponazzi's 
reply. ' Whither do they go ? ' urged the former 
speaker. ' Where others are gone before,' repHed 
the dying man. A last attempt was made to induce 
him to take nourishment, but he refused, saying, 
' Leave me alone. I wish to die.' And so," writes 
his sorrowful pupil, " his spirit fled with a sigh to the 
shades." ^ 

1 Luzio, op. dt. 

2 V. Cian, Nuovi documenti su Pomponazzi, p. 29. 


Ercole was bitterly grieved, and sent the sad news 
to his brother the Marquis in the following short note : 
" I have nothing to tell you, but that last night about 
three o'clock our beloved M. Pietro Pomponazzi died. 
May God grant him peace I " ^ On the 24th of May, 
Federico replied : " We received the news which you 
gave us of the excellent Messer Pietro Pomponazzi's 
death with no httle sorrow, both because of the love 
which we bore him on account of his rare talents, 
and out of regard for Your Highness, knowing how 
much you loved him, and how useful he was to you 
in those studies which are your constant delight. 
We feel sure that you grieve for him from the depths 
of your heart." ^ 

After INIesser Peretto's death, the young prince 
felt that he could no longer remain at Bologna, and 
wrote to his mother, who was then in Rome, saying 
that he was returning to Mantua now that M. Pietro 
was no more, and begged her to allow him to spend 
the summer at her villa of Porto, since the heat would 
be so great in the town. 

Pomponazzi's remains were brought to his native 
city and buried in the church of San Francesco, 
where Ercole raised a noble bronze monument above 
his remains. To the end of his life Isabella's son 
retained the deepest affection for his master's memory ; 
he sealed his letters with an effigy of Pomponazzi, and 
had a portrait of him which he describes as a " most 
speaking likeness." When, in 1545, Paolo Giovio 
begged for a copy of this portrait to add to his 
collection, the Cardinal replied that he could not 
spare the original, since this would leave him without 

1 Davari, Lettere inedite di Pomponazzi. 
* Fontana, SuW Immortalitd, &c., p. 93. 


the image of the great man who had been his master, 
and regretted to say that Maestro GiuHo (Giuho Ro- 
mano) was too much occupied with buildings and plans 
to do the work, but promised that one of his scholars 
should copy the portrait as soon as he returned from 
Rome.^ It is worthy of note that Ercole Gonzaga, 
who still remembered the great sceptic with so much 
veneration, was before long to become the president 
of the General Council which met at Trent in that 
same year. 

^ Luzio in Giorn. Stor., 1900, p. 45. 



Castiglione in Rome — Pope Adrian's reforms — Chiericati at the 
Diet of Nurnberg — His letters to Isabella — Journey of 
Magellan — Visit of Isabella to Venice — Navagero and Titian 
— Doge Andrea Gritti enters into an alliance with Charles V. 
— The Pope joins the League — Death of Adrian VI. — Elec- 
tion of Clement VII. — Castiglione sent to Rome — Wars 
of Lombardy — The Connetable de Bourbon at Mantua — 
Isabella in Venice — Ferrante Gonzaga goes to Spain — Cas- 
tiglione sent by the Pope to Madrid — Giulio Romano at 
Mantua — Isabella Boschetti. 

Castiglione's embassy to the Vatican was pro- 
longed until November 1522. Owing to his exer- 
tions, Federico Gonzaga was confirmed in his post of 
Captain-General, and in this capacity held the baldac- 
chino over the new Pope when His Holiness entered 
Rome in state on the 30th of August 1522. But 
although Adrian VI. showed himself friendly to the 
Gonzagas and their kinsfolk of Urbino and Ferrara, 
and was sincerely desirous of peace, his foreign 
habits and the changes which he introduced soon 
rendered him unpopular, ahke to the officials of 
Leo the Tenth's court and to the people of Rome. 
He turned out the Cardinals who lodged in the 
Vatican, ordered them to shave their beards and lay 
aside their secular habits, engaged an old Flemish 
cook, and gave his steward a single ducat a day for 
the expenses of his household. The carnival was 



shorn of its splendour ; even Pasquino was silenced, and 
would have been thrown into the Tiber if the Pope 
could have had his way. Castiglione sighed over 
these changes, and was heartily sick of his mission. 
To add to his discontent, the plague raged in Rome 
all tlirough the autumn, and he longed to escape 
from the stricken city, where he was in daily risk 
of losing his life. He succeeded, however, in main- 
taining his influence with Adrian VI., and had a 
powerful helper at the Vatican in Isabella's old 
friend, Bishop Chiericati. 

This excellent prelate stood high in the Pope's 
favour, and was sent as papal nuncio to the Diet 
of Niirnberg, in the hope that he would be able to 
effect a reconciliation with the German Lutherans. 
Erasmus rejoiced to hear of the noble mission on 
which his friend was bound, and Chiericati himself 
had great hopes of success when he passed through 
Mantua in November 1522. But the letters which 
he addressed to Isabella from Niirnberg show that 
the task was beyond his powers, and that neither 
the Pope nor any of his advisers as yet realised 
the proportions which the Lutheran movement had 

" I assure Your Excellency," he writes in January, 
"that Luther's doctrine has already so many roots 
in the earth that a thousand persons could not 
pull it up ; certainly I alone cannot. But I will 
do what little I can, although threats and perse- 
cution are not wanting. Every day I receive vil- 
lainous insults, but I try and take all these things 
patiently for the love of God, knowing that they will 
be counted to me as martyrdom. . . . Now they have 
begun to preach that the Sacrament of the Altar is 


not a true Sacrament, and is not to be worshipped, but 
only celebrated in memory of Christ. And they say 
that the Blessed Virgin has no merit as the Mother 
of Christ, and that she bore other sons to Joseph. 
And every day things go from bad to worse. I pray 
God to put forth His hand." Again, he tells Isabella 
how much he is distressed at the secular spirit of 
the clergy, and how German cardinals and arch- 
bishops are to be seen dancing and leaping in their 
ecclesiastical habits. And then, knowing that theo- 
logical controversies have never deeply interested the 
Marchesa, he passes on to pleasanter subjects, and 
tells her some of the wonderful tales which his 
Vicentine servant, Antonio Pigafetti, who had left 
him three years before, to sail round the world with 
Magellan, has brought back from these unknown 

" I send Your Excellency an account of the 
Spanish expedition and a plan of the great city of 
Temistan, in the newly discovered islands of the 
Oceanic Sea, which will, I think, be of interest to 
you. And I hope that in a few days Your Excel- 
lency may have the great pleasure of hearing my ser- 
vant, who has just returned from this journey round 
the world, tell you himself all the great and marvellous 
things which he has seen and described in writing. 
For certainly this journey is a greater one than any 
man has ever taken before, since he and his comrades 
went round the whole of the globe. First of aU, 
they sailed southwards to those islands in the Oceanic 
Sea which are called Terra Ferma, and round the 
point, over the Sea of Sur towards the west. Then 
turning to the north and east, they found themselves 
in the great Gulf, near the Spice Islands, and sailed 

VOL. II. p 


by the golden Chersonese and the Gangelian Gulf, 
through the Persian and Arabian Seas, by the Cape 
of Good Hope, into the Ethiopian Sea and across the 
Atlantic, until they reached the Canary Islands, and 
returned to their own land by the opposite way, 
having gained not only great riches, but what is 
worth more — immortality. For surely this has thrown 
all the deeds of the Argonauts into the shade. Here 
we have a long account of the expedition, which His 
Cassarean Majesty has sent to the Archduke Ferdi- 
nand, who has kindly shown it to me, and has also 
given me some of the spices which they brought from 
these parts, with boughs and leaves of the tree from 
which they are made. Caesar has also sent His Serene 
Highness a painted map of the journey, and a bird 
which is very beautiful, which the kings of those 
countries bear with them when they go to battle, 
and say they cannot die as long as it is at their side. 
It seems to be a very rare bird, and here they call it 
a phoenix ; et de his satis." ^ 

A few weeks later, Chiericati sent the Marchesa 
Pigafetti's Itinerary, and on the 3rd of February 
1523, Isabella wrote to thank him for the book and 
to express the incredible satisfaction which it had 
afforded her. " If your servant," she continues, 
" who has returned so full of knowledge from these 
parts, and whom indeed we envy greatly, should 
happen to come this way, we shall be delighted 
to see him, for, as you will understand, it is a 
far greater pleasure to hear of these new and mar- 
vellous lands from a living person, than merely 
to read about them. So if you can send him to 
Mantua, we shall be deeply indebted to you." At 

^ B. Morsolin, op. cit. 


the same time she congratulated him on his success 
in persuading the German princes to take arms 
against the Turk, and condoled with him over the 
difficulties which he encountered at Niirnberg. " May 
our Lord God give you the power necessary to ex- 
tinguish that shameful and diabolical Lutheran sect. 
You must not allow yourself to be disheartened by 
the insults and opposition that you receive, remem- 
bering that it is the same in all important under- 
takings, and the greater your difficulties are, the 
greater will be your glory." 

The nuncio kept his promise, and Antonio Piga- 
fetti came to Mantua soon afterwards, bringing with 
him the journal which he had kept daily on his voyage, 
and which Chiericati described as a " divine thing." 
The traveller met with the most enthusiastic re- 
ception, and the Marchesa was able to listen to his 
wonderful stories, and satisfy her curiosity as to the 
countries and natives of this strange new world which 
had been discovered in her own lifetime. In the last 
days of this same month of January 1523, the painter 
Titian came to Mantua at the urgent request of 
Federico, who had probably met him in Venice, and 
was familiar with his works at Ferrara. The young 
Marquis was especially anxious that the Venetian 
master should paint a portrait for him, probably that 
of his mistress, Isabella Boschetti, since the name of 
the sitter is never given in the letters which he wrote 
on the subject. But Titian was on his way to Ferrara 
to superintend the hanging of his great Bacchanals in 
Duke Alfonso's Camerino, and had already sent the 
last of the series, the Bacchus and Ariadne of the 
National Gallery, by boat to that city. So he only 
spent a few days at Mantua, and the portrait, which 


he probably sketched during this brief visit, was 
finished at Venice in the following August. The 
work was pronounced to be very fine, and greatly 
pleased the Marquis, who sent Titian a splendid 
doublet, in token of his satisfaction, before the picture 
ever reached him/ The painter's great Entombment 
of the Louvre was also executed and sent to Mantua 
towards the end of the year, and was sold to our 
Charles I. with the gems of the Mantuan collection 
in the following century, but it is uncertain whether 
this noble work was painted for Federico or his 
mother. In any case, Isabella, who had been absent 
when Titian paid his first visit to Mantua and admired 
her art-treasures, four years before, now made the 
acquaintance of the master, with whom she and her 
son were afterwards so intimately associated. 

A few months later, she saw him again in Venice, 
when, after visiting Padua, in fulfilment of a vow 
which she had made to the Santo, she spent Ascension- 
tide in that city. " To-day," wrote Marino Sanuto 
on the 20th of May, " the Signory heard from the 
Mantuan ambassador that the old Marchesana was 
in this city, lodging in Ca' Barbaro in S. Stefano, and 
a present of ducats was sent her by order of the 
Signory." ^ On this occasion Isabella was accompanied 
by her brother, Duke Alfonso, now set free from the 
perpetual fear of papal intrigues and treacheries, and 
by Castiglione, who had at length returned from 
Rome and was able to enjoy a well-earned holiday. 
This joyous little party started for Venice on the 
16th of May, travelling incognito, and, as usual on 
these occasions, Isabella went everywhere and saw 

^ Crowe e Cavalcaselle, Titian, vol. i. App. 
2 M. Sanuto, Diarii, xxxiv. 156. 


everything. Her companions confessed themselves 
tired out by her marvellous energy, and the Count 
describes himself in a letter to Federico as very busy, 
occupatissimo, in escorting Madama on her walks 
and gondola trips through the city.^ 

Twenty-one years had passed smce Isabella paid 
her memorable visit to Venice with her sister-in- 
law. Duchess Elisabetta, and there were many new 
and beautiful things for her to see in the churches 
and palaces of the lagoons — the glorious frescoes 
which adorned the Great Council Hall, the last and 
noblest altar-pieces of Giovanni BeUini, that master 
whose endless delays had caused her so much annoy- 
ance, the paintings of Carpaccio in the httle shrine 
of the Slavonian sailors, and the famous pictures 
by Giorgione, which she had vainly sought to obtain 
for her Grotta. Now the great patriarch of Venetian 
painting and the brilliant master of Castelfranco 
were both in their graves, and a new generation 
of masters had sprung up, with Titian at their 
head. The Marchesa, no doubt, visited the church 
of S. Maria Gloriosa and saw the Assumption which 
he had lately painted for the Franciscan friars, 
and examined his latest frescoes in the ducal palace. 
And she was especially struck by a St. Jerome 
which she saw in his shop, and wrote to the 
Mantuan envoy, Malatesta, after her return in 
June, desiring him to offer the painter 100 ducats 
for the picture. The librarian of S. Marco, Andrea 
Navagero, the friend of Raphael and CastigHone, who 
often visited the Marchesa at Mantua and made him- 
self very useful to her in Venice, had, it appears, 
praised the picture greatly, and his advice encouraged 

^ Esenzioni di famiglia di CastigHone, p. 30. 


her to make the purchase, " knowing," she writes to 
Malatesta, " that I cannot be wrong in acting on the 
advice of one who is so excellent a judge in these 
things." And she begs her agent to thank Messer 
Andrea for his kind interest in the matter, and for all 
the trouble which he has taken to secure the picture. 
Unluckily Isabella, finding herself as usual short of 
money, afterwards changed her mind, much to the 
distress of Malatesta, who privately told Ippolito 
Calandra that, if Her Excellency did not buy the 
picture, it would hardly be to her honour, especially 
now that he had spoken to Navagero and Titian on 
the subject.^ The Marchesa, however, would not 
have the St. Jerome, but either this picture or 
another version of the subject was bought by her 
son Federico in the year of his marriage, and hung 
in the room of his wife. Duchess Margherita.'^ 

While Isabella and her brother visited churches 
and studios, or studied rare books and manuscripts, 
with Castiglione and Navagero for their guides, politi- 
cal affairs were not neglected. Andrea Gritti had just 
succeeded the aged Antonio Grimani on the ducal 
throne, and both the Duke and the Marchesa were 
present at his proclamation and enthronement, after 
which Alfonso shook hands with the newly elected 
Doge, and wished him joy, in the most friendly 
manner. The next morning they attended the 
solemn mass in S. Marco when the banner of the 
Republic was formally delivered into his hands, and 
saw him crowned with the ducal cap at the top of 
the Giants' Staircase.^ 

^ Luzio in Giom. Slor., 1900, p. 48. 

2 D'Arco, Arte e Arlefici, ii. ]6l. 

" M. Sanuto, Diarii, xxxiv. 157, 158. 


On his accession, the new Doge was called upon 
to make a momentous decision in accepting the 
proposals of Charles V. and Francesco Sforza to 
join in a league for the defence of the Milanese 
against the Signory's old ally, France. Castig- 
lione accordingly lost no time in waiting upon 
His Serene Highness, with whom he had a long 
interview on the 30th of May, and who professed the 
warmest sentiments of friendship for the INIarquis 
Federico. Nor did the Count forget to put in a 
word in favour of his old master, the Duke of 
Urbino, whom he was always glad to serve. The 
result proved highly satisfactory, and when, on the 
28th of June, the new treaty of the Republic with 
the Emperor was proclaimed, Francesco Maria was 
appointed general of the Venetian army. The 
Gonzagas had now entered into a close alliance 
with the Emperor, Charles V., and in July 1523, a 
few weeks after his return from Venice, CastigUone 
wrote to his friend, Andrea Piperario, in Rome, 
begging him to assure the Spanish ambassador that 
neither the bad conduct of the Pope nor that of the 
Duke of Milan could prevent the Marquis from being 
wholly devoted to the Emperor (Imperialissimo) both 
in body and soul. " Madama, his mother," the Count 
goes on, *' is entirely of the same opinion, and if there 
were any need for me to keep them in this frame 
of mind, I would not only gladly give my time and 
labour, but life itself." ^ On the 3rd of August, Pope 
Adrian and the RepubHc of Florence both joined the 
league for the defence of Italy against the French, 
and the JMarquis of Mantua, who was already Captain 
of the Church, received the command of the troops 

^ Serassi, Lettere di Neg., ii. 55. 


which 1^'lorence sent to join the papal forces. In 
spite of this formidable league, Francis I. was bent 
on recovering Milan, and early in September a strong 
force under Bonnivet crossed the Alps, and, after 
taking Novara and Vigevano, laid siege to Milan. 

On the 14th of September 1523, the very day 
when the French crossed the Ticino, the Pope died, 
heart-broken at the failure of his efforts to reform the 
Church, and to unite the powers of Christendom in 
a crusade against the Turks. " Here lies Adrian VI., 
who thought nothing more unfortunate in his life 
than that he became Pope," was, Paolo Giovio tells 
us, the inscription which he wished to have placed on 
his grave. The Conclave met on the 1st of October, 
and after a prolonged sitting of fifty days. Cardinal dei 
Medici was elected Pope, with the title of Clement 
VII. The Imperialists were exultant. Bembo pro- 
phesied that the new Pope would prove the best and 
wisest ruler which the Church had ever known, and 
all Rome rejoiced at the choice of a Medici, who 
would hold a splendid court and bring back the 
golden days of Leo X. The Gonzagas were over- 
joyed to see a friend of their house once more in the 
Chair of St. Peter, and Castiglione, who was on in- 
timate terms with the new Pontiff, was immediately 
sent to congratulate him on his election. 

That summer Isabella and her family were once 
more thrown into mourning by the death of her 
brother-in-law Giovanni Gonzaga and his wife Laura 
Bentivoglio, who both died in the same week, the one 
in the last days of August, the other on the 4th of Sep- 
tember. Giovanni had always shown himself the most 
loyal of subjects to his brother and nephew, and his 
house in the BorgoPradella had been the scene of many 


pleasant family gatherings. The loss of this honest 
and genial prince was deeply regretted by Isabella, 
and even more by Duchess Elisabetta, who was ten- 
derly attached to her youngest brother, and had little 
in common with his sons. The eldest, Alessandro, 
was chiefly notorious for his quarrelsome temper and 
inveterate love of gambling, and wasted both his time 
and patrimony at cards. Three months later, Isabella 
received a visit from another of her husband's nephews, 
who was a very different character, and whose mis- 
fortunes aroused her deepest sympathy. This was 
the famous Connetable de Bourbon, the only surviving 
son of Chiara Gonzaga and Gilbert de Montpensier. 
The young French nobleman had succeeded to the 
vast estates of the Bourbon family through his mar- 
riage with Susanne, only child of Charles the Eighth's 
sister Anne, but after his wife's death the Queen- 
mother, Louise de Savoie, laid claim to these lands, 
and by her intrigues drove Charles de Bourbon from 
the French court. The Emperor received him with 
open arms, and offered him the command of the 
German forces in Lombardy, where he found himself 
fighting against his liege lord in the very city over 
which he had once reigned as Viceroy. On her visit 
to Louis the Twelfth's court at Milan, many years 
before, Isabella had been greatly attracted by the 
young prince, who bore a marked likeness to his 
mother, and now she told his aunt Elisabetta that 
she could not express how charming and handsome 
he was, and how nobly and cheerfully he bore his 
misfortunes. Monsignore de Bourbon, as his Italian 
relatives called him, accompanied Federico to the 
camp of the League, and exerted himself actively 
in opposing the French attack on Milan. By the 


end of the year, Bonnivet was forced to raise the 
siege, and I^annoy, the new Viceroy of Naples, who 
took the command of the combined forces in March, 
soon compelled him to retire beyond the Alps. The 
papal forces were disbanded, and Federico Gonzaga 
returned to Mantua early in May. 

Once more Italy enjoyed a brief interval of 
repose, and Isabella availed herself of the oppor- 
tunity to repeat her visit to Venice. On the 8th 
of May, Marino Sanuto mentions the arrival of 
the "Marchesa di Mantova, mother of the Lord 
Marquis, and sister of the Duke of Ferrara, com- 
monly called Madama, who is lodging in Casa Bar- 
baro, near S. Vitale, with the Mantuan ambassador, 
and has brought with her, for the use of her house- 
hold, four amphoroe and three barrels of wine, twenty 
sacks of flour, four cheeses, besides meat and vege- 
tables, all of which were declared free of duty by the 
Signoria." ^ Isabella paid a visit to the Doge Andrea 
Gritti, who gave her a splendid reception, and en- 
tertained her in his private rooms, where she spent 
some time, talking freely of many things, and especi- 
ally of the latest news from Turkey. Every courtesy 
was shown to the Marchesa on this occasion, and 
when the Mantuan envoy came to thank the Signoria 
for their courtesy, and express how greatly she had 
enjoyed her visit, the Doge replied in the most cordial 
terms, and spoke of the Marquis as a beloved son 
and faithful ally. 

Isabella remained in Venice for the Ascension 
fetes, and attended high mass on the Feast of Corpus 
Christi in S. Marco, when the Patriarch sang the 
office, the Doge in his crimson robes, and all the 

1 M. Sanuto, Diarii, xxxvi. 366. 


members of the Scuola di San Rocco were present. 
After this solemn function, the Marehesa walked 
through the Merceria and the most crowded streets 
in the city to the Rialto, " and enjoyed herself exceed- 
ingly," writes Sanuto, "making an attendant walk 
on each side of her, supporting her arms, for the sake 
of her dignity."^ The advance of years could not 
diminish her energy and love of sight-seeing, and at 
fifty she was as full of life and as interested in every- 
thing about her as she had ever been. But although 
the Doge was eager in his professions of regard for the 
Marehesa and her son, he was already wavering in 
his allegiance to the Emperor, and before the end of 
the year both Venice and the Pope entered into a 
secret agreement with France. 

From the moment of his election, Clement VII. 
adopted the crooked policy of Leo X., and, with- 
out breaking openly with the Emperor, began to 
negotiate secretly with Francis I. He assumed a 
strictly neutral attitude in the hope of gaining time, 
and tried by skilful intrigues to preserve the balance 
of power between the two rivals, both of whom he 
dreaded equally. But while he directed his gravest 
censures against Alfonso d'Este, who had taken ad- 
vantage of the late Pope's death to recover Reggio, 
he confirmed Federico Gonzaga in his office as 
Captain-General, and treated his envoy with marked 
favour. All through the summer, CastigHone re- 
mained in Rome, keeping a watchful eye over his 
master's interests, while the tangled web of intrigue 
gathered every day more thickly round the Vatican. 
Often, in the midst of his thankless and troublesome 
task, he longed for rest and freedom, and wished 

1 Diarii, xxxvi. 366. 


himself back at Mantua, enjoying the cool breezes 
and delicious shades of the Marchesa's beautiful 
villa of Porto. 

" Signora mia illustrissima,'' he wrote on the 20th of 
July 1524, " I accept any penance which Your High- 
ness sees fit to lay upon me for my neglect in writing, 
with the humility of a good penitent. Here the heat 
and the great abundance of excellent melons we have 
enjoyed during the last month do not agree with me 
at all, and might do me real harm if it were not for 
the good medicines recommended by Your Excel- 
lency. I hope to come and kiss your gracious hands, 
if not during these great heats, at least when they 
are a little abated, and we may still be able to dine 
in your beautiful loggia, for among all the fair places 
in Rome, I know of none which can compare with 
that I" ^ 

Isabella hastened to assure her friend how eagerly 
he was expected in her loggia, where his presence 
would be all the more welcome after the fine 
praises which he had bestowed upon it. But neither 
during that summer, nor any other, was the Marchesa 
to enjoy the company of her most brilliant courtier 
in the lovely gardens of Porto. For on the same 
day that the Count was sighing to be once more 
at home, Pope Clement addressed a letter to the 
Marquis, begging that he might be allowed to send 
his good servant, the Magnifico Baldassarre Cas- 
tigUone, on an important mission to His C cesarean 
Majesty at Madrid.^ Neither Federico nor the Count 
could refuse this flattering request, and Isabella was 
the more inclined to gratify the Pope's wish, because 

1 Luzio e Reniefj Mmdova e Urbino, p. 255. 

^ Esenzioni, p. 32; Serassi, Lettere di Negozi, i. 133. 


she was about to send her third son, Ferrante, to the 
Court of Spain. The marked favour which Charles 
V. had lately shown the Marquis had encouraged her 
to take this step, and Castiglione gladly promised to 
serve the young prince to the best of his powers. 
" I long more than ever to enjoy Your Excellency's 
loggia," he wrote on the 4th of August, " and grieve 
to think how little I am likely to be there now. 
When I am in Spain, I shall often wish myself back 
at Mantua, but shall console myself by serving Don 
Ferrante, until God allows me to return, and find the 
rest which is needful at my age and time of life." 

Ferrante Gonzaga was barely seventeen, but was 
already a tall and active youth, who inherited his 
father's powers of horsemanship and skill in courtly 
exercises, and his mother's love of art and letters. 
" I rejoice," wrote Ercole Gonzaga to his mother 
from Bologna, " to hear that my brother Ferrante is 
devoting himself to such laudable deeds, as well as to 
those studies which by Your Excellency's kind care we 
have learned to love from our tenderest years." But 
it was in the career of arms, rather than in that of 
letters, that Isabella's youngest son was to earn his 
laurels, and rise to that high place in the Emperor's 
favour which he afterwards attained. Meanwhile his 
mother had not abandoned the hope of obtaining a 
Cardinal's hat for Ercole, and by her orders Castig- 
lione renewed his application on the subject to Pope 
Clement. His Hohness seemed incHned, he wrote, 
to lend a favourable ear to the proposal, but would 
make no promises, and in October, the Count urged 
Federico Gonzaga to come to Rome himself, say- 
ing that the Pope was anxious to see him, and 
his presence would, he felt sure, advance the 


matter in hand.^ The Marquis took the hint, and 
actually started for Rome in the middle of October. 
Wlien, however, he reached Bologna, he heard that 
Francis I. had suddenly crossed the Mont Cenis, 
and was marching on Milan. In this critical state 
of affairs, he felt that it was impossible to continue 
his journey, and returned to Mantua to await the 
further development of affairs.^ By the time that 
he reached home, Francesco Sforza had been com- 
pelled to evacuate Milan and retire on Lodi, leaving 
a strong garrison in the CasteUo, while Francis I. 
laid siege to Pavia, which was stoutly defended by 
the Spanish captain, Antonio de Leyva. All through 
the winter months the Imperialist generals were 
compelled to remain inactive for want of money and 
reinforcements, and in Rome, Pasquino, who had 
recovered his voice under the new Pope, offered a 
reward " for the discovery of the Imperial army, lost 
sometime last October in the mountains between 
France and Lombardy, and never heard of since." ^ 
" Here, in Rome, there is no news," wrote the nuncio 
Chiericati to Isabella. " All the great and important 
tidings come from Lombardy, where Your Excel- 
lency now is, so I can only serve you up a salad of 
the different fragments which reach us from beyond 
the Alps. Here both the Colonna and the Orsini 
are raising forces, and we all wonder if the French are 
going to invade Naples, but His Hohness observes a 
strict neutrality, and only seeks to keep the peace." 
In other words, the Pope persevered in his temporis- 

1 Serassi, Letterg di Negozi, i. 

2 Sanuto, Diarii, xxxvii. ; D'Arco e Braghirolli, Arch. St. It,, 
vii. 191. 

3 // Pnncipe, by Machiavelli, ed by L. Burd, p. 159. 


ing policy, and refused to declare himself openly on 
either side. Since Mantua remained at peace, and 
Federico's presence in the field was not required, 
Isabella now decided to go to Rome herself, and 
ask the Pope for Ercole's Cardinal's hat in person. 
She had already started on her journey when 
Castiglione came back to Mantua and took leave 
of his mother and children before his departure 
for Spain. He brought with him, at Federico's 
request, the painter Giulio Romano, the pupil 
of Raphael, "whom I love," he wrote to the 
Pope, "every bit as much, now he is dead, as 
when he was alive." And the Count also brought 
the Duke a model of a beautiful villa and spacious 
gardens, which had been designed by Michel Angelo 
Federico admired these plans immensely, and declared 
his intention of building a similar palace at Marmirolo, 
where he had lately erected a sumptuous theatre and 
other splendid buildings.^ This scheme, however, 
seems to have been abandoned, and GiuHo Romano, 
who now took up his abode at Mantua, began to build 
his famous palace of the T^, on the marshy ground 
outside the Pusterla Gate, formerly occupied by the 
Marquis Francesco's stables. 

In those days the handsome young Marquis was 
passionately in love with Isabella Boschetti, whose 
fair face and form may still be seen in the Psyche, 
painted by Messer Giulio's hand, whom we see 
reigning supreme amid the goddesses on the ceiling 
of the Palazzo del T^. And it was for his mistress 
that Federico built the noble Palazzo della Giustizia, 
which was also decorated with paintings by the 
hand of his favourite master. Isabella bore him 

^ Luzio e Renier, Mantova, p. 257. 


three children, and his devotion to her made him 
reject all proposals of marriage. After his father's 
death he broke off his engagement with Maria di 
Montferrato, and obtained a dissolution of the con- 
tract from Clement VI I. ^ Some of his relatives 
were anxious that he should marry the King of 
Poland's daughter, but Federico himself took little 
interest in the scheme, which was allowed to drop. 
All this was a cause of great distress to his mother, 
who longed to see the succession secured in her 
family, and suffered many things from the selfishness 
and jealousy of Federico's mistress. Paolo Giovio, 
who knew her intimately, and frequently visited 
Mantua, tells us that the Marchesa was often left 
alone, or with only two or three faitliful old servants, 
while her son's innaTiwrata rode proudly through the 
town, followed by a crowd of courtiers and ladies. 
It was then, the historian explains, that the Marchesa 
adopted the device of a many-branched candlestick, 
such as is used in the services of Holy Week, when 
the priests put out one light after the other till 
only one is left, as a symbol of the undying flame 
of faith. "And this device," the Bishop writes, 
" Madama caused to be painted in her rooms of the 
Corte Vecchia and in her villa of Porto, and I, who 
was always her loyal servant, gave her the motto, 
Suffidt unum in tenebris, which recalls Virgil's line, 
Unum pro multis"^ 

Bandello, we have already seen, speaks of the evil 
influence which Isabella Boschetti exerted on the 
Marquis ; and some of the Marchesa's own servants, 
such as Mario Equicola, forgot their duty to their 

^ Davari in Arch. St. Lomh., 1887. 
' Delle Imprese, p. 59. 


old mistress in their eagerness to ingratiate them- 
selves with her son. Mario, however, did not live 
much longer to make mischief between Federico 
and his mother. He was too ill to accompany 
Isabella on her journey to Rome, and died at 
Mantua in July, 1525. Castiglione proved her 
faithful friend to the last, and did not forget her 
in the anxieties and distractions of his Spanish 
mission. "God knows," he wrote from Mantua, 
"how much it grieves me not to kiss your 
Highness' hands before my departure ! " and on 
his arrival at Madrid, he hastened to give her news 
of Don Ferrante. " Thank God, I am well, and 
although everything here seems strange, I am 
beginning to get used to Spanish customs, and these 
gentlemen seem pleased to see me. A week ago, 
my illustrious lord, Don Ferrante, went to S. Jacopo 
di Galicia. He is very well indeed, in high favour 
with Caesar, and adored by all these Spanish lords. 
I hope Your Highness will write and tell me how 
you are, and if your secretaries are too busy, 
M. Andrea Piperario will gladly write all you are 
good enough to tell him for me." ^ Madrid, April 6, 

In July, Messer Baldassarre wrote again from 
Toledo, advising the Marchesa, who was by this time 
in Rome, to prolong her travels, and visit the shrine 
of S. Jacopo before her return. " In old days," he 
remarks gaily, "Your Excellency used to say she 
had a great wish to visit the shrine of S. Jacopo di 
Galicia. It seems to me this would be the very time 
to go there, and you would see so many beautiful 
places on the way that you would be delighted ! I 

1 Luzio in Giom. St., 1900, p. 74; Arch. St. Lomb., 1908, p. 8. 



seem to hear you laugh, thinking that I am saying 
this in jest, to remind you of the accursed love of 
travel which that Signor of the house of Este left 
to all his race I But I say this because I really think 
the journey would please Your Excellency. I know 
that La Brogna will not approve, because of her wish 
to return to Mantua, and will hold the pardon of 
Santa Croce more precious than that of S. Jacopo. 
Enough that I have given you my advice. Your 
Excellency will do as she chooses."^ But Isabella's 
wish was not to be fulfilled, and she never went to 
Spain, or saw Castiglione again. 

* Luzio e Renier, Mantova, p. 258. 



Isabella goes to Rome — Visits Urbino and Loreto — Is received 
by the Pope — Occupies the Palazzo SS. Apostoli — Death 
of Cardinal Gonzaga and of Duchess Elisabetta of Urbino 
— The Imperialists advance southwards — Passage of the Po, 
and death of Giovanni delle Bande Nere at Mantua — Lannoy 
and the Pope sign a truce — Bourbon advances against Rome — 
The Marquis of Mantua warns the Pope — Isabella refuses to 
leave Rome — Fortifies her house, and gives shelter to ambas- 
sadors and Roman ladies — Ercole Gonzaga made a Cardinal. 

Early in January, Isabella sent her servants to 
Rome, to prepare the Duke of Urbino's palace near 
the church of S. Maria in Via Lata, for her recep- 
tion. A month later she herself started on the 
journey with a small suite, including her new secre- 
tary, Giovanni Francesco Tridapale, and her old 
favourite, Brogna, who was restored to favour after 
the death of the Marquis Francesco, and resumed 
her former post of lady-in-waiting. The Marchesa 
was also accompanied by two young princesses of 
remarkable beauty and charm — Camilla Gonzaga di 
Novellara, and Giulia, daughter of Lodovico Gon- 
zaga of Gazzuolo, and grand-daughter of Antonia 
del Balzo, who enjoyed the reputation of being the 
lovehest woman of her time. After spending a few 
days at Ferrara, the travellers took boat for Ravenna, 
and then rode overland to Pesaro, which was safely 

reached on the 17th of February. Here both 



Duchesses were awaiting the Marchesa, and the 
whole city welcomed her with the greatest joy. 
Guidobaldo rode out with a troop of noble youths to 
meet his grandmother three miles from the gates, 
and Leonora and the ladies of the court saluted 
her at the foot of the palace steps. EHsabetta, 
whose health had been failing ever since her return 
from exile, was even more overjoyed to see her 
beloved sister-in-law ; and, instead of setting out 
again on the following morning, Isabella was per- 
suaded to spend two nights at Pesaro. A pastoral 
play, with musical interludes and dances, was per- 
formed in her honour on the last evening, and early 
the next day the Marchesa left for Sinigaglia, on 
the way to Loreto. 

On the journey from Loreto to Rome, she re- 
ceived the news of the great battle which had been 
fought at Pavia on the Emperor's twenty-fifth birth- 
day — the Feast of St. Matthias — and of the complete 
defeat and capture of Francis I. Many of Isabella's 
friends were present on that hard-fought field. Her 
nephew, Charles de Bourbon, and her kinsman, the 
gallant Pescara, were the heroes of the hour. La 
Trdmouille, La Palisse, Galeazzo di San Severino, 
were among the 12,000 corpses left on the battle- 
field ; while Federico di Bozzolo and St. Pol and 
many others were taken prisoners with the French 
king. When the Marchesa reached Rome, on the 
1st of March, she found the Imperialists exultant, 
and the Pope half-dead with terror. For it was 
openly said that Charles V., furious with Clement 
the Seventh's temporising game, vowed that he 
would come to Italy himself and give His Holiness 
a lesson. Under these circumstances, the Pope was 


especially anxious to retain the friendship of the 
Mantuan princes. When he heard from Pietro 
Aretino that Federico was exceedingly anxious to 
possess Raphael's portrait of Pope Leo X., which 
hung in the Palazzo Medici at Florence, he imme- 
diately gave orders that this famous work should 
be presented to the Marquis, In December 1524, 
Francesco Gonzaga, who had succeeded Castiglione 
as ambassador at the Vatican, wrote to inform his 
lord that a copy of the picture was to be made at 
once by some good Florentine master, and that as 
soon as this was done, the original would be sent to 
Mantua.^ Andrea del Sarto was selected for the 
task, and it was his copy, as we learn from Vasari, 
that was sent to Federico by Ottaviano del Medici 
in the following August. The Pope's kinsman was 
naturally reluctant to part with Raphael's own work, 
and the copy was so admirable that even Giulio 
Romano did not discover the deception until Vasari 
himself revealed the secret.^ The same causes 
prompted His Hohness to receive the Marchesa with 
the highest honour. 

It was the year of Jubilee, but very few pilgrims 
had ventured to come to Rome in these troubled 
times, and Isabella was the only visitor of distinc- 
tion who attended the services of Holy Week, and 
received plenary indulgence. The Pope supplied her 
with wheat, barley, wine, sugar, wax, oil, meat, and 
fish for the use of her household, and invited the 
INIarchesa to a private audience on the 9th of March. 
But when Isabella explained the real object of her 

^ A. Baschet, Arch. St. It., serie tersa, iii. 118-120; D'Arco e 
Braghirolli, vii. I92, igs. 
2 Fite, V. 41. 


journey, and asked His Holiness to make her son 
Ercole a Cardinal, the Pope replied with evasive 
answers and civil words. The Marchesa, however, 
resolved to bide her time ; and, with the intention 
of spending the summer months in Rome, accepted 
the offer of the Colonna Palace, close to the Church 
of the SS. Apostoli, from Cardinal Pompeo Colonna. 
In this splendid house, surrounded with beautiful gar- 
dens, and finely situated on the brow of the Quirinal 
hill, Isabella spent the next two years, and wit- 
nessed the awful catastrophe of the siege and sack 
of Rome. 

For a time, however, all went well. The Pope, 
in his alarm, consented to form a new alliance with 
the victor of Pavia, and on May-day attended 
mass at the Church of the SS. Apostoli, and was 
afterwards entertained at a banquet in the house 
of his enemy. Cardinal Colonna. From the window 
of the palace looking down into the church, the 
Pope and the Marchesa witnessed the strange revels 
that were held on this feast-day. His Holiness and 
the Cardinal joined in letting loose hundreds of fowls, 
partridges, quails, and pheasants among the women who 
thronged the sacred precincts, and watched men climb- 
ing a greasy pole to reach the pig at the top, while 
spectators from the neighbouring houses threw pails of 
water over them — "sports," adds Marcello Alberini, 
who was present, " which are hardly convenient in a 
sacred temple, but which the mob joined in gladly, 
feeling sure they would never take place again." ^ 

Isabella's old friends in Rome were, for the most 
part, dead and gone. Cardinal Bibbiena, Giuliano dei 
Medici, Raphael were no more, and Castiglione was 

* M. Alberini, Diarii, &c. 


far away in Spain. But a few were still left. Sadoleto 
was papal secretary ; Paolo Giovio and Chiericati — 
whom the last-named prelate calls the sweetest of all 
his friends — were both at the Vatican ; while Pietro 
Bembo came to Rome that winter to pay his re- 
spects to Pope Clement. " Only the other day," 
wrote the Venetian humanist on the 20th of April, 
" I saw the Lady Marchesana, honourably attended 
by a fair and noble company, driving about in her 
chariot, which is as fine a sight as it is a novel one 
in Rome."^ Among the ladies who were present 
with Isabella on this occasion was Camilla Gonzaga 
di Novellara, whom Bembo honoured with his special 
devotion, and with whom he kept up a lively cor- 
respondence. After he left Rome, he sent this 
youthful lady some of his sonnets, begging her to 
present his salutations to the Marchesana and to 
the Venetian ambassador, Domenico Venier, whom 
he asked in his turn to love and honour the fair 
Camilla a little more warmly for his sake than he 
would naturally do on his own account.^ Another 
humanist who was deeply attached to Camilla Gon- 
zaga, the poet Molza, came to Rome in March 
from Bologna, bringing letters to the Marchesa from 
her son Ercole. " I know," wrote the future Car- 
dinal to his mother, "how much you delight in the 
company of learned men, but yet I ask you for 
my sake to receive Molza with especial kindness, 
and I am sure that before long he will compel you 
and all your ladies to love him for his own sake." 

So Isabella's house became once more the meet- 
ing-place of poets and men of letters, who accom- 

^ Leftere, iv. 41. 

2 V. Cian, f/« Decennio nella vita di M. P. Bembo, p. Sp. 


panied her in her walks and drives, and read their 
verses or told their stories under the ancient rums 
of the Temple of the Sun, in the terraced gardens 
looking down on the Baths of Const ant ine and 
the distant Campagna. Her interest in antiques 
was as keen as ever ; she explored the ruins, sought 
out Roman medals, and bargained with dealers and 
collectors over the prices of ancient marbles and 
mosaics. Michel Angelo was absent working for the 
Pope in Florence, but she made friends with his 
follower, Sebastiano del Piombo, and especially ad- 
mired his skill in painting portraits. She visited 
all the famous churches and shrines in turn, and 
was present in her chariot on the festival when all 
Rome assembled to hear the witticisms of Pasquino, 
who had recovered his old gaiety, under the rule of a 
Medici Pope. 

On the 4th of October, the Marchesa heard of 
the death of her brother-in-law, Cardinal Sigismondo 
Gonzaga, who had been laid up for many months at 
Mantua with gout and increasing infirmities, and 
without a moment's delay, she hastened to the Vatican 
and entreated the Pope to confer the vacant hat on 
her son Ercole. Clement vacillated as usual between 
his wish to oblige the Marchesa and his dread of 
affronting other applicants, but Isabella insisted with 
so much force that in the end the Pope promised to 
make Ercole a Cardinal whenever he saw his way to 
increasing the number of the Sacred College. The 
Marchesa left his presence, with a brief to this effect 
in her hands, and on the 4th of November, Bembo, 
writing from Padua to his friend Beazzano in Rome, 
remarked : " A fortnight ago, the Duke of Urbino 
showed me a copy of a brief which the Pope had 


addressed to Signer Ercole Gonzaga, brother of the 
Marquis of Mantua, promising, on the faith of a true 
Pope, to make him Cardinal at the next creation, 
and this I think will take place very soon." And 
he wrote to Ercole in the same strain, advising him 
to go to Rome himself as soon as possible. The 
death of Sigismondo was a blow to his tender- 
hearted sister Elisabetta. Her own health was in a 
very precarious state, and Federico Gonzaga, fearing 
the effect of a sudden shock, wrote to Emilia Pia, 
begging her to break the news gently to his aunt. 
But early in January, the good Duchess became 
seriously ill, and on the 28th she passed away, to 
the sorrow of her family and subjects. Both the 
Duke and his wife were absent at the time, and 
Leonora wrote from the neighbourhood of Verona 
to tell her mother of Elisabetta's serious illness. A 
few days later, the news of her death reached them, 
and they both wept for one who had been to them 
the best of mothers. The loss of this devoted sister 
and friend was even more severely felt by Isabella, 
who had been closely connected with Elisabetta for 
the last forty-six years, and the Mantuan ambassador, 
Francesco Gonzaga, gives a touching account of the 
sorrow with which she received the news. 

" Madama," he writes to Federico on the 5th of 
February, " has felt the greatest distress at the death 
of the widowed Duchess of blessed memory, and 
besides the ties of blood, and the singular love which 
has always united these two illustrious princesses, she 
grieves over the loss of the most rare lady whom this 
age has known. But it is the will of God, and we 
can only bear our loss in patience. The news of the 
said Duchess's death reached the ambassador of 


Urbino just before I received Your Excellency's 
letter on Friday evening, and as the hour was late, 
and Madama was in the company of some of these 
Cardinals, I did not tell her until the following 
morning. His Holiness, on his part, showed the 
greatest sorrow for this sad event, and, in conver- 
sation with me, remarked that we had lost a lady 
of rare gifts and singular excellence, and that he 
realised this the more fully because he had known her 
intimately in the darkest days of her life. And he 
observed that she would be a great loss to the Lord 
Duke, whom she helped by her wise and prudent 
counsels, and the admirable love which she had for 
his subjects." ^ 

But, amongst all the tributes to Elisabetta's 
memory, that which her old friend Bembo paid her 
was the truest and most eloquent. " I have seen 
many excellent and noble women," he wrote, " and 
have heard of some who were more illustrious for 
certain virtues, but in her alone among women all 
virtues were united and brought together. I have 
never seen or heard of any one who was her equal, 
and know very few who have even come near 
her." 2 

The words, as Lady Eastlake remarked, may well 
have suggested Shakespeare's hues : — 

" For several virtues 
Have I liked several women, never any 
With so full soul, but some defect in her 
Did quarrel with the noblest grace she owed 
And sent it to the foil ; but you, O you. 
So perfect and so peerless are created 
Of every creature's best."^ 

1 Luzio e Renier, Mantova, p. 274. 
2 Opera, iv. ^ Quarterly Ucview, Ixvi. 24. 

By G. Caboto. 

[To face 'p- 250, vol. ii. 


Meanwhile important political events were taking 
place. On the 14th of January, the Treaty of 
Madrid was signed, and Francis I. was released from 
captivity. But hardly had he set foot in France than 
the Pope absolved him from his oath to observe the 
conditions of the treaty, and himself joined the new 
League against the Emperor with France, Venice, 
Florence, and the Duke of Milan. The Marquis of 
Mantua, who was kept informed by his mother, and 
Francesco Gonzaga, of all that happened in Rome, 
remained strictly neutral, and begged the Pope's 
leave to abstain from taking up arms against his liege 
lord the Emperor, while the Duke of Ferrara, whom 
Clement VII. refused to admit into the League, 
made a secret agreement with Charles V., and sup- 
plied his troops with provisions and ammunition. 
The Pope was more furious than ever with his old 
enemy. " If the Duke wishes to make the Emperor 
master of all Italy," he exclaimed, " let him try his 
worst ! Much good may it do him ! " ^ Guido 
Rangone now led the papal forces to join the Duke 
of Urbino, who, as Venetian general, assumed the 
chief command of the armies of the League. But 
whether owing to ill-health or excessive caution, 
Francesco Maria allowed the Castello of Milan to 
fall into the hands of the Imperialists without striking 
a blow in its defence, and the unfortunate Sforza was 
compelled to capitulate, on the 24th of July. He 
retired to Lodi, and the Duke of Urbino, after 
taking Cremona, left the camp, and joined his wife 
at Mantua. 

For a time all remained quiet in Rome. Isabella 

^ Gayaugos, " Spanish Calendar of Letters" ; Creighton, "Hist, 
of the Papacy," vi. 330, &e. 


spent the summer pleasantly, entertaining her friends 
and collecting antiques and pictures. On the 2Gth 
of July, the wedding of Vespasiano Colonna, the 
head of his powerful house, and of the beautiful 
Giulia Gonzaga, was celebrated in the Marchesa's 
palace. The bridegroom was already an elderly 
man, and had one daughter by a former marriage, 
named Isabella, the richest heiress in Italy, whom 
the Pope destined to be the bride of his young 
cousin Ippolito dei Medici. But his vast wealth and 
position made the match a briUiant one for the young 
Gonzaga princess, and gave the Marchesa especial 
satisfaction. The wedding was solemnised with great 
splendour. Vespasiano took his fair bride to his 
castle of Palliano in the Campagna, and no one 
dreamt of the storm that was about to burst. 

Two months later, on the 20th of September, 
Rome was startled by a sudden inroad of the 
Colonnas. Vespasiano and Ascanio Colonna, to- 
gether with their kinsman Cardinal Pompeo, and 
the Imperial envoy Don Ugo di Moncada, entered the 
Lateran Gate without opposition, marched through 
the city, and encamped in the Piazza SS. Apostoli, 
under the windows of Isabella's palace. The Pope 
and Cardinals fled to the Castell Sant' Angelo, the 
Spanish soldiers pillaged the Vatican, and carried off 
the gold and silver plate from the altars of St. Peter's. 
Even Chiericati, whose Imperialist sympathies were 
known to aU, and who stood high in Charles the 
Fifth's favour, was unable to save his property. In 
his terror, Clement sent for Moncada, and promised 
to withdraw from the League. The invading force 
retired, and the Pope recalled his troops to Rome, 
and employed them to wreak vengeance on the 


castles and dependants of the Colonnas in the 
Campagna. But in November the German captain, 
Frundsberg, crossed the Alps with 12,000 lands- 
knechte, and after a few skirmishes with the Duke 
of Urbino's forces, succeeded in effecting a junction 
with Bourbon at Piacenza. 

Isabella heard from her son of the death of Gio- 
vanni delle Bande Nere, the son of her old frienci 
Giovanni dei Medici and Caterina Sforza, and the 
one leader of mark in the armies of the League. 
This gallant soldier was mortally wounded in a des- 
perate attempt to prevent the Imperialists from 
crossing the Po at Governolo, and was carried 
through thickly falling snow to the house of Lodo- 
vico Gonzaga in Mantua. There the Duke of Urbino 
came to visit the dying hero, and his old enemy, the 
Marquis Federico, showed him every courtesy. " He 
kissed him tenderly," writes Pietro Aretino, in the 
letter describing his friend's last moments, " and 
spoke gracious words, such as I never heard from 
any prince saving only Francesco Maria." Federico, 
deeply moved at the sight of this brave man lying 
on his death-bed, begged him to ask for some favour, 
since in his Hfetime he had refused to accept any- 
thing at his hands. " Love me when I am dead,'' 
said Giovanni. "That I will indeed," replied the 
Marquis, "and more than this, I, and many others, 
will never cease to lament the loss of so noble and 
excellent a prince."^ Soon afterwards, the Ch^an 
diavolo, as his soldiers called him, breathed his last, 
to the great regret of his kinsman Pope Clement. 
"Et en verity," wrote the French ambassador, Du 
Bellay, " c'estoit un grand homme de guerre." 

' Pasolini, Caterina Sforza, ii. 39. 


The Duke of Urbino now retreated towards the 
Venetian frontier, and the ImperiaHst leaders, finding 
that no further opposition was offered, continued 
their march southwards, ravaging the country and 
hving on plunder. Frundsberg was left at Ferrara 
dangerously ill, and Bourbon found himself power- 
less to restrain the savage hordes of German lands- 
knechtCi clamouring for pay. Meanwhile, Renzo da 
Ceri took the command of the papal forces south 
of Rome, and succeeded in repulsing the Imperialists 
under Lannoy, Viceroy of Naples. Encouraged by 
this success, the Pope opened negotiations with 
Lannoy, who came to Rome on the 25th of March, 
and signed a truce of eight months. Clement VII. 
agreed to withdraw his troops from Naples, while 
Bourbon was to retire into Lombardy on payment 
of 60,000 ducats. Lannoy went to meet Bourbon 
at Florence, and the Pope, lulled into false security, 
disbanded his forces in spite of repeated warnings 
from the Marquis of Mantua. " The prudent advice 
given by Your Excellency in your letter of the 28th 
to the Pope," wrote Francesco Gonzaga, " telling him 
not to disarm in spite of the truce, was as necessary 
as it is worthy of praise, but His HoHness seems 
already to have surrendered at discretion, There is 
no doubt that it is the fixed, absolute will of God 
to ruin both the Church and her ruler." ^ 

At the same time, Federico entreated his mother 
to return to Mantua at once. But Isabella was de- 
termined not to leave Rome without Ercole's hat, and 
replied that it would be time to think of taking her 
departure when the landsknechte were at the gates. 
And since her nephew was in command of the 

^ Gregorovius, Rom, viii. 507. 


Imperial army, and her son Ferrante had hun-ied 
back from Spain to join him, she had Httle cause 
to fear for her own safety. 

Lannoy now hastened to meet Bourbon, according 
to his promise. He found the ImperiaUst general at 
the foot of the Apennines, and told him of the 
truce which had been signed in Rome. But the 
Germans and Spaniards alike refused to accept these 
terms, and since the Duke of Urbino was guarding 
the passes towards Florence, demanded to be led 
against the papal city. Lannoy, seeing that he was 
powerless, went on to Siena, while Bourbon addressed 
a letter to the Pope asking for 240,000 ducats, and 
resumed his march across the Apennines, along the 
great high-road to Rome. 

On the 2nd of May, news reached the Vatican 
that Bourbon was at Viterbo. Then the Pope for 
the first time realised the peril of the situation, and 
sent a courier to implore the Duke of Urbino to 
hasten to his help. Many of the panic-stricken 
citizens carried their treasures to the Castell Sant' 
Angelo, or buried them underground. Others pre- 
pared to fly, but were stopped by a decree from the 
Pope forbidding any citizen to leave Rome on pain of 
death. The gates were closed, and Renzo da Ceri 
hastily levied a few hundred troops and strengthened 
the defences of the city. " This morning," wrote the 
French ambassador, Du Bellay, " I spent a whole 
hour with the Pope. It is difficult to express the 
terror he is in, but I did my best to inspire him with 
a little courage. He wished Renzo to collect 1000 
men, but it was impossible to raise as many ducats."^ 
In this extremity, Clement took the only means of 

' Guicciardini, Opere inedite, v. 


raising money in his power, and appointed five new 
Cardinals, who each paid 40,000 ducats as the price of 
his elevation. One of the five was Ercole Gonzaga, 
whom the Pope chose in spite of the opposition of 
many of the Cardinals, who could not forgive his 
brother Ferrante for serving with Bourbon. But 
this was not the time to raise objections, and on Sun- 
day the 5th of May, when Bourbon was already 
under the walls of Rome, the red hat was borne to 
the Palazzo Colonna, and safely delivered to the 
Marchesa by Cardinal Pizzino. The desire of Isa- 
bella's heart was at length gratified, but she could 
no longer leave Rome.^ In this critical moment the 
Marchesa showed remarkable presence of mind. She 
sent a messenger to her son Ferrante and to Charles 
de Bourbon, asking them to protect her house if 
they captured the city. At the same time, she 
ordered the palace to be fortified and garrisoned, and 
laid in provisions to enable her followers to stand a 

On Saturday the 4th of IMay, Bourbon sent a 
herald to Renzo da Ceri, asking him to give his forces 
provisions and a free passage to Naples. These pro- 
posals were rejected with scorn, but the same envoy 
conveyed a message to Isabella from Bourbon, telling 
her to fortify and defend her house until he had 
entered the city and was able to provide for her 
safety. During the next two days a number of 
wealthy Romans and noble ladies, including Madonna 
Felice Orsim, the daughter of Pope Julius, sought 
shelter within the walls of her palace, and as many 
as 3000 souls are said to have found protection there. 
Both Francesco Gonzaga, the Mantuan envoy, and 
* M. Sanuto, Diarii, xlv. 207. 


the ambassadors of Ferrara and Urbino were among 
the fugitives whom Isabella received ; and on the 
morning of the 6th of May, when the invaders were 
already in the Borgo, the Venetian envoy, Domenico 
Venier, being unable to reach Castell Sant' Angelo, 
took refuge under the same hospitable roof Then 
the gates were barricaded, and the brave Marchesa 
calmly awaited the issue. 




Siege of Rome — Death of Bourbon — Rome sacked during three 
days — Alessandro and Ferrante Gonzaga protect Isabella's 
palace — Scenes of carnage in the city — Cruelty and sacrilege 
of the soldiers — Isabella leaves Rome for Ostia — Returns to 
Mantua — Is received with great joy — Escape of the Venetian 
ambassador — General horror at the capture and sack of Rome 
— Grief of Isabella's friends — Letters of Bembo, of Erasmus, 
and of Sadoleto — Death of Castiglione in Spain. 

On the evening of Sunday the 5th of May, the 
ImperiaHst army crossed Monto Mario and encamped 
under the walls of Rome. At midnight the trumpets 
sounded, and in the early dawn the assault began. 
The point chosen for attack was on the Vatican hill, 
between the Porta Torrione and S. Spirito, where 
the walls were lowest, and the assailants were hidden 
by the thick white fog which clung to the banks of 
the river. But a heavy fire from Renzo da Ceri's 
men on the walls and from the guns of Sant' Angelo 
thinned their ranks. For a moment the result 
seemed doubtful. Then Bourbon, a splendid figure 
in his silver armour, sprang from his horse, seized 
a ladder, and, calling on his men to follow him, 
began to scale the wall near the Campo Santo. But 
hardly had he set foot upon it than he fell back, 
struck by a musket-ball in the groin, crying, " Ha^ 
Notre Dame^je suis mort."^ The Prince of Orange 
threw his mantle over him, and his attendants bore 


him into the neighbouring chapel, where he breathed 
his last half an hour later, still repeating the words, 
** A Rome! a Rome!"^ Benvenuto Cellini, it is 
well known, claimed to have fired the shot which 
took such fatal effect, and his boast receives some 
support from the statement of an eye-witness, that 
Bourbon was shot by one of the Pope's goldsmiths, 
who stood on the waU and singled him out as a 
person of importance. 

The Spanish troops, maddened at seeing their 
leader fall, returned to the attack with fresh courage ; 
a breach was made in the walls near Santo Spirito, 
and the wild hordes of soldiery burst upon the ill- 
fated city. The Pope was in St. Peter's kneeling 
before the altar, when the news reached him that the 
foes were in the Borgo. He saw the Swiss guards 
flying before the landsknechte, and heard the cries of 
" Spagna ! Impero ! " which rang through the streets, 
as his attendants hurried him along the passage to 
the Castello. Thirteen Cardinals followed in his 
steps, and Paolo Giovio threw his purple mantle over 
the Pope, lest his white robes should attract attention 
as he crossed the wooden bridge into Sant' Angelo.^ 
One old Cardinal, Armellini, was drawn up ""in a 
basket after the portculhs had been let down. 
Another, the aged Cardinal Pucci, was dragged 
half dead with fright and exhaustion, through a 
window.^ The English and French envoys, Gregory 
Casale and Alberto Pio of Carpi, had already taken 
refuge there, and were joined later in the afternoon 
by Renzo da Ceri, who, after a vain attempt to defend 

^ Gregorovius, Rom, viii. 526. 
' P. Giovio, Vita P. Colonna. 
8 Gregorovius, op. cit, viii. 526. 


Trastevere, gave up all for lost and galloped over 
the Ponte Sisto to the Castello. Luigi Rodomonte, 
the gallant young Gonzaga captain, led the Italian 
contingent of the Imperialist force over the Montorio 
and across the Ponte Sisto into the heart of the city. 
By half-past five the fighting was over, and the 
Germans encamped on the Campo di Fiore, while 
the Spaniards occupied Piazza Navona, and Ferrante 
Gonzaga guarded the bridge of Sant' Angelo and the 
approach to the Castello. Then these savage hordes 
of soldiery were let loose. Thousands of rude Ger- 
mans and fierce Spaniards rushed upon the defenceless 
citizens, hurled women and children out of the win- 
dows, and tortured their innocent victims to discover 
hidden booty. In their wild frenzy these ruffians 
showed neither pity nor reverence. Churches and 
convents were robbed and burnt, altars stripped of 
their sacred vessels, nuns outraged, and Cardinals 
dragged naked through the streets. The Prince of 
Orange took up his quarters in the Vatican, and 
thus succeeded in saving the papal library and art 
treasures ; but the Flemish tapestries, executed from 
Raphael's cartoons, were stolen, and the landsknechte 
stabled their horses in the Stanze adorned by the 
great master of Urbino. The archives of the Capitol 
perished, and countless family records and manuscripts 
of priceless value were lost. The great gold Cross of 
Constantine was carried off from the gates of St. 
Peter's, and the graves of Pope Julius II. and of 
the Prince of the Apostles himself were rifled. The 
unspeakable horrors of the next three days are best 
described by the Imperial Commissioner, Gattinara, in 
the letter which he addressed to his imperial master : 
" All the church ornaments were stolen, all the sacred 


relics destroyed. Even the Sancta Sanctorum in the 
Lateran, that most ancient and hoHest shrine, was 
sacked, and the Volto Santo, or veil of Veronica, was 
passed from hand to hand in the taverns of Lungara. 
The Church of St. Peter and the Pope's palace, from 
top to bottom, were turned into stables. There was 
no leader to control our soldiers, and no discipline 
anywhere. The Prince of Orange and our other 
captains did what they could, but to little purpose. 
The landsknechte behaved like true Lutherans, the 
rest like brutes. No one of any age or sex escaped. 
All alike were tortured and plundered." ^ 

From the windows of the Palazzo Colonna, Isa- 
bella d'Este and her ladies looked down on these 
awful scenes. They heard the agonising shrieks of 
the women and the groans of the dying, and, over all, 
the sullen booming of the guns of Sant' Angelo. As 
they waited in terrible suspense through the long 
hours, many among them thought that their last 
moment had come. At length, as it was growing 
dusk, a captain, wearing the black, red, and white 
imperial colours in his helmet, was seen running 
across the piazza. Camilla Gonzaga looked out 
and joyfully recognised her brother Alessandro, who 
was making his way on foot to the palace gates. 
Immediately ropes were let down from the lofty 
battlements, and the gallant Count was drawn up 
to the windows. Then Isabella learnt from her kins- 
man's lips all that had happened. He told her how 
the city had been stormed, and her nephew Bourbon 
slain in the act of scaling the walls, and how his 
body was now lying in state in the Sistine Chapel, 
while the Pope and Cardinals had fled to the Cas- 

^ Dennistoun, " Dukes of Urbino," vol. iii. App. 


tello. Before his tale was ended, a Spanish cavalier, 
Don Alonzo da Cordova, arrived, and told the 
Marchesa that the evening before, he had received 
orders from the dead Duke to take her house under 
his protection. Finally, about ten o'clock at night, 
Ferrante himself arrived in hot haste, having been 
unable to leave his post at the bridge of Sant' Angelo 
until this instant. Isabella, who had not seen her 
son since he started for Spain three years before, 
welcomed him with tears of joy, and Ferrante, on 
his part, was greatly relieved to find his mother and 
her friends unhurt. Her house was the only one in 
Rome that escaped, excepting the Cancellaria, which 
was occupied by Cardinal Colonna. The palaces 
of the Cardinals who belonged to the Imperialist 
party, and had, therefore, thought themselves safe, 
were stormed and plundered, and the house of the 
Portuguese ambassador, the Emperor's own nephew, 
was ruthlessly sacked. Even Ferrante Gonzaga's 
presence could not save the distinguished person- 
ages who had found shelter in the Marchesa's palace 
from paying a heavy ransom. " It was hard work 
for me to save Madama," wrote Ferrante to his 
brother the Marquis, "for a report had been spread 
abroad in the camp that she had more than two 
millions of treasure in her palace, and this was en- 
tirely due to her compassion, which made her receive 
more than 1200 ladies and 1000 citizens within its 
walls." In the end it was decided that the Marchesa 
and her household should be exempted from ransom, 
but that all the other refugees in the palace should 
pay down a sum of 60,000 ducats, of which Ferrante 
told his brother he did not receive a single farthing.^ 

^ Gregorovius, Rom, viii. 540. 


" Signor Ferrante and Signor Luigi [Rodomonte] 
have gained little or nothing in the sack of Rome," 
wrote a Venetian from the camp of the League, after 
conversing with some of the fugitives who had been 
released by these captains. " Rather, to their credit 
be it said, they have lost and spent their own fortunes 
in saving their personal friends who were unable to 
pay the ransom which the landsknechte and Spaniards 
exacted from their victims. People cannot say too 
much of Signor Luigi, whose generosity and liberahty 
are beyond all praise." ^ 

The Venetian ambassador, Domenico Venier, was 
claimed by Alessandro Gonzaga as his prisoner, the 
Count gallantly desiring Madama to fix the price 
of his ransom. Even then he had no easy task 
to save the envoy from being massacred or carried 
off to Spain by Don Alonzo, who offered to pay 
Alessandro 5000 ducats, if he would give up his 
captive. As the ambassador told the Doge, he owed 
his life solely to the intercession of Signor Ferrante 
and his illustrious mother, who promised to be re- 
sponsible for their kinsman's prisoner. Finally he wias 
allowed to remain with Madama, on condition that 
she would deliver him into the Count's hands at 
Mantua, or pay the ransom which had been agreed 
upon. The poor Venetian afterwards addressed a 
pitiful appeal to the Doge from Civitavecchia, implor- 
ing His Serenity to intercede with the Marquis on 
his behalf, since he had lost everything in the siege, 
and if he went to prison at Novellara he would 
certainly die. As it was, his secretaries had to pay a 
ransom of 150 ducats each, and Don Alonzo de- 
manded 10,000 ducats from the Magnifico Marc- 

1 M, Sanuto, Dia?ii, xlv. 206. 


antonio Giustiniani, because he heard that this 
wealthy prelate had offered the Pope 40,000 ducats 
to be made a Cardinal. Another Venetian patrician, 
Marco Grimani, was more fortunate, and left Rome 
disguised as a muleteer in the Marchesa's suite.^ 
Even when this bargain had been concluded with 
the Spanish captain, the landsknechte threatened to 
storm the palace, complaining that they had been 
deprived of their share of the ransom, and were only 
prevented from carrying out their intention by the 
Prince of Orange, who left a stout German captain, 
Johann by name, with a strong garrison to defend 
the house. 

On the 9th, the Prince issued a decree forbidding 
all plundering, and summoning the troops to arms ; 
but the demoralised soldiers paid no heed to his 
orders, and during a whole week the same scenes 
of violence and carnage were repeated. The palaces 
of the Cardinals Delia Valle, Siena, Cesarini, and 
Enckefort, who had paid a heavy ransom to the 
Spaniards, were afterwards sacked by the Germans, 
and these prelates were only saved by taking refuge 
in the Cancellaria. When Cardinal Colonna returned 
to Rome on the 10th of May, he burst into tears 
at the scene that met his eyes. Paolo Giovio hailed 
the coming of this prelate, who had been the Pope's 
most bitter enemy, as that of an angel from heaven, 
and tells us that during the next few days he rescued 
no less than 500 unhappy nuns, as well as countless 
other victims of every age and sex, from the hands of 
the cruel Germans and still more cruel Spaniards. 

"And all this miseiy has been caused by the 
Duke of Urbino. Either this man has not the 

^ M, Sanuto, Diarii, xlv. 214. 


courage to face the enemy, or else he rejoices in the 
Pope's ruin." So wrote Guicciardini, the Floren- 
tine commissioner, from the camp of the League at 
Isola, nine miles from Rome. Francesco Maria's 
conduct was indeed inexplicable. He was either, 
as the historian suggests, indifferent to the deliver- 
ance of Rome, or else the most incapable of generals. 
On the 3rd of May, he set out with his army from 
Florence. On the 6th, Federico of Bozzolo pushed 
forward with 800 horse, but was delayed by an un- 
lucky accident. His horse fell, and the brave captain 
broke his arm and leg, and had to be left at Viterbo. 
His lieutenant, Pepoli, arrived at Ponte Molle, only 
to find that he was too late. The enemy were already 
in the Borgo, and with his small force he could do 
nothing. The bulk of the army did not reach Isola 
till the 22nd. Even then the Duke declared that 
he could do nothing to help the Pope until he had 
received reinforcements. 

" The end of it all is," Guicciardini writes, " that 
the Pope has been left to his fate. I need not say 
whose the fault is. ... I am no general, and do not 
understand the art of war, but I may tell you what 
all the world is saying, that if, when the news of the 
capture of Rome reached us, we had pressed on to 
the relief of the Castello, we should have released 
the Pope and Cardinals, and might have crushed the 
enemy and saved the unhappy city. But all the 
world knows what our haste has been ! . . . You 
would really think that we had to do, not with the 
deliverance of this unhappy Pope, on whom we all 
depend, or with the rescue of this great city in its 
death-agony, but with some trifling matter. So the 
poor Pope remains in the Castello, begging for help 


so earnestly that his entreaties would melt the very 
stones, and in so abject a state of misery that even 
the Turks are filled with pity I " ' 

The Pope's condition was indeed pitiable, and he 
had many months of cruel indignities to bear before 
an agreement with the Emperor was finally signed 
on the 9th of December. Even then his terror was 
so great that he preferred to escape by night with 
the help of an Imperialist captain. Leaving the 
Castello by a secret door, disguised as a pedlar, he 
mounted a horse which was waiting for him in the 
Vatican gardens, and rode to Orvieto under the escort 
of the gallant Luigi Rodomonte. 

Long before this, Isabella d'Este had left Rome.^ 
As soon as some degree of order had been restored, 
on the 13th of May, her son Ferrante, with a strong 
body of Spanish and Italian guards, escorted the 
Marchesa and her suite, together with the three 
ambassadors, to the shore of the Tiber, where galleys 
were waiting to take them to Ostia.^ There they 
were detained six days by rough weather, and when 
Isabella, impatient to proceed on her journey, set 
sail in one of Andrea Doria's ships, a terrific storm 
suddenly arose. After escaping from this peril, the 
travellers sailed into smooth water and reached 
Civitavecchia on the morning of the 23rd of May 
in beautiful weather.* The next day they took 
horse and rode overland by Corneto, Toscanella, 
and Pesaro to Ravenna, leaving the treasures 
of antique marbles, pictures, and gems which the 
Marchesa had collected in Rome to go by sea to 
Leghorn. Wherever Isabella and her companions 

^ Guicciardini, Op. Inedite, vol. ix. ^ A. Reumont, Rom., iii. 220. 
' M. Sanuto, op. cit. xlv. 216, &c. * M. Sanuto, op. cit. xlv. 220. 


came, they were greeted with breathless inquiries as 
to the fate of Rome, and told the same terrible tale 
of the awful disasters which had befallen the once 
glorious city. 

Isabella s own family had been full of anxiety on 
her account. When the first news of the death of 
Bourbon and the sack of Rome reached the camp 
of the League, it was feared that she had perished 
in the general ruin. On the 14th of May, the Duke 
of Urbino's secretary, writing from Orvieto to Leo- 
nora, who was at Venice with her children, said 
that the Portuguese ambassador's house had been 
sacked by the brutal soldiery, greedy for gold, and 
that the same was reported of Madama's house, 
which God forbid I It was known, however, that the 
ambassador of Urbino and many illustrious person- 
ages had found shelter under the Marchesa's roof, 
and that, alone among the Roman palaces, the house 
had been strongly fortified. The Marquis Federico 
heard from Florence that only the Castello Sant' 
Angelo and a palace which held a Marchesa and 
many nobles had escaped the fury of the destroyers ; 
but it was not till a servant of the Venetian ambas- 
sador reached Mantua, on the 16th of May, that 
Isabella was known to be safe under her son's pro- 
tection. A few days later, Ferrante himself wrote to 
relieve his brother's mind, and by the 9th of June 
the Marchesa herself reached Ferrara. After a brief 
interval of sorely-needed repose, Isabella once more 
resumed her journey, and sailed up the Po, in the ducal 
barge, to Governolo. Here Ercole Gonzaga came to 
meet her, and received the Cardinal's hat from his 
mother's own hands.^ The next day they sailed up 

* G. Daino, Cronaca ; D'Arco, Notizie, 237. 


the Mincio to Mantua, where the Marquis and a 
brilliant train of knights and ladies were awaiting their 
arrival, and the whole city poured out to welcome 
the beloved Marchesa, and escort her with shouts of 
triumph and tears of joy to the palace gates. Leonora 
was at Venice, where the Signory practically detained 
her as a hostage for the Duke's fidelity, but her two 
little girls went to Mantua to receive their grand- 
mother. ** I have not yet taken the children to visit 
Madama," wrote their tutor on the 15th of June, 
"because she only arrived yesterday, and is very 
much occupied, but we hope to see her soon."^ 

The Venetian ambassador, Domenico Venier, 
reached Mantua on the same lovely June evening 
as the Marchesa, and remained there as the prisoner 
of Alessandro da Novellara until the end of October. 
His wife came to meet him, and spoke warmly of 
Federico's kindness, and of the pleasures which he 
was enjoying after the cruel hardships which he had 
endured. None the less the envoy took the first 
opportunity of escaping from Mantua without paying 
the ransom which had been agreed upon, and on the 
evening of the 17th of October, sent the Signory 
word that he had reached Verona safely. The 
Marchesa, justly indignant at this breach of faith, 
addressed a letter of remonstrance to the Doge, which 
was read to the Senate and pronounced to be very 
wise by all who were present. But we are not told 
if Count Alessandro ever received his promised 
ransom, and the Mantuan ambassador who dehvered 
Isabella's letter was careful to inform the prince that 
the Signor Marchese rejoiced with His Serenity on 
the Venetian envoy's escape.^ 

^ Luzio e Renier, Mantova, &c., p. 279- 
2 M. Sanuto, op. cit., xlvi. 


Meanwhile, Ferrante Gonzaga, who had with- 
drawn to Velletri on the 17th of June with the 
Imperialist horse, wrote to congratulate his mother 
on her escape from the horrors of the ruined city, 
and safe return to Mantua. " I can no longer delay 
to kiss your hand, and rejoice with you that you 
were so fortunate as to leave that most miser- 
able and unhappy city of Rome, which, after the 
utter ruin brought upon her by the soldiers, is 
now scourged by God with famine and plague. — 
From your son and servant, Ferrante Gonzaga." ^ 
Velletri, June 23, 1527. 

The landsknechte, who remained in Rome, were 
dying by thousands, and the plague had even pene- 
trated into the precincts of Sant' Angelo. But still 
the German soldiers refused to leave Rome until they 
had received their arrears of pay, and anarchy reigned 
supreme. When at length the last foreign troops 
left Rome, and the Pope returned after an exile of 
ten months, he found a ruined and depopulated city. 
It was reckoned that as many as 30,000 of the in- 
habitants had perished by the sword of the invaders 
or died of plague and famine, while another 20,000 
had sought refuge in flight.^ So deeply was the 
memory of those days of horror engraved in the 
hearts of succeeding generations, that to this day 
Roman mothers hush their children to sleep with the 
words, " Go to sleep, httle one ; Borbone is gone I " ^ 

From all parts of the civihsed world a wail went 
up to heaven over this awful catastrophe. Isabella's 
friends sighed over the terrible ruin which had over- 

^ Gregorovius, Rom., p. 540. 

' M. Alberino. 

' R. Lanciani, " Destruction of Rome," p. 226. 


whelmed this great and beautiful city, once the place 
of all dehghts. Bembo wept in the lovely gardens 
of his Paduan villa, when he heard the heart-rending 
details told by the poet Molza, who had escaped with 
his hfe, as it were by miracle. ** Come here, I im- 
plore you," wrote Pietro to his old friend Tebaldeo, 
" and leave the miserable corpse of our once beautiful 
Rome." ^ 

The poor poet had lost everything in the sack, and 
owed his life to Cardinal Colonna, on whose charity 
he lived until a timely loan from Bembo reached 
him. Paolo Giovio lost his precious manuscripts, 
and Colocci saw his priceless collection of antiques 
destroyed by the savage soldiery, and was himself 
exposed to their brutal insults. " Fortunate indeed," 
said Molza, " are those who were spared the sight of 
these awful horrors, and did not have to witness 
the funeral of the city of Romulus." Sadoleto, in 
the peaceful haven of his bishopric at Carpentras, 
heard with anguish of the misery which his friends had 
suffered, and saw in these terrible events the long- 
delayed judgment of God. Yet the Roman scholar 
could not repress a sigh for those joyous days of yore, 
and in a touching letter to his old friend Colocci, he 
recalls those pleasant evenings in the Quirinal gardens 
when Bembo and Castiglione, Pheedra and Nava- 
gero, and the brilliant Marchesa herself, spent happy 
hours together in gay or serious, in witty or thought- 
ful discourse. " Alas ! those days are for ever gone, 
and the cruel fate of Rome has darkened all our 
joy."^ As Erasmus wrote to Sadoleto: "Rome was 
not alone the slirine of the Christian faith, the nurse of 

^ Lettere, iii. 34. 

2 Sadoleto, Ep., p. 106. 


noble souls and the abode of the Muses, but the 
mother of the nations. To how many was she not 
dearer and sweeter, more precious than their own 
native land I ... In truth, this is not the ruin of one 
city, but of the whole world." ^ 

There was another of Isabella's friends on whom 
the blow fell with even greater severity. This was 
CastigHone, who, as nuncio at the court of Madrid, 
had done his utmost to appease the Emperor's v^rath 
and save the unhappy Pope. His efforts were doomed 
to failure. Charles V. himself could hardly be held re- 
ponsible for the sudden turn which events had taken. 
But the bitter reproaches which Clement VII. ad- 
dressed to his envoy were keenly felt by the Count. 
He was already ill, and never recovered from the 
shock. Even the Emperor's favour could not console 
him, and, after lingering on through the next summer, 
he died at Toledo on the 7th of February 1529. 

Charles V. heard the news with genuine regret, 
and, turning to his courtiers, said : "We have lost one 
of the greatest cavaliers in the world." In his home 
at Mantua, Castiglione's death was the cause of bitter 
sorrow, ahke to his aged mother, who alone remained 
to watch over her orphan grandchildren, and to the 
friends whom he had loved so well. The coming of 
his footsteps was vainly awaited in his favourite 
loggia, and the Marchesa's reunions lacked the pre- 
sence of her most brilliant guest. Giuho Romano 
was employed to raise a noble monument to his old 
patron's memory in the sanctuary of S. Maria delle 
Grazie, and Isabella lamented in him the most 
accomplished of her courtiers and the most faithful 
of her friends. 

1 Erasmus, Ep., p. 988. 



Misery of Italy — Pkgue in Mantua — Federico's buildings — Isa- 
bella's Roman antiquities lost on the voyage — Her correspond- 
ence with the Roman dealer, Raphael of Urbino — Sebastiano 
del Piombo — Cardinal Ercole's love of art and letters — Death 
of Emilia Pia — Veronica Gambara and Correggio's Magdalen 
— The Allegories painted by Correggio for Isabella's Studio — 
Titian visits Mantua and paints Isabella's portrait — Copy by 
Rubens at Vienna. 

Isabella found her faithful Mantuans in a melan- 
choly condition on her return from Rome. During 
the two years that she had been absent, war had 
raged unceasingly in Lombardy. The unfortunate 
Francesco Sforza, ill in body and exposed to attacks 
on all sides, vainly tried to maintain himself against 
the Imperialists, and the Spanish general, Leyva, 
had the greatest difficulty in feeding his army. The 
desolation of the country and the misery of its few 
remaining inhabitants made a deep impression on 
the English ambassadors who were sent by Henry 
VIII. to the Congress of Bologna in 1529. There 
were no labourers at work in the fields, no dwellers 
in the villages, and in the once flourishing cities of 
Lombardy, whole families might be seen begging 
their bread. " It is, sir," wrote Nicolas Carew to 
the King, " the most pity to see this country, as we 
suppose, that ever was in Christendom. . . . Betwixt 
VercelU and Pavia the whole country has been 


^ ooaf^f^U-. iyn.. (^ j 


wasted. We found no man or woman labouring in 
the fields, and all the way we saw only three women 
gathering wild grapes. The people and children are 
dying of hunger." ^ 

Although Mantua itself had been spared the 
horrors of war, the continual passage of foreign armies 
had brought famine and destitution in its train, and 
to add to the general distress, a terrible outbreak of 
plague spread over the whole of North Italy. During 
the year 1528, one-third of the population of Mantua 
died of this epidemic, and Isabella, in her anxiety to 
reUeve the distress of her subjects, once more pledged 
her finest jewels, including the famous collar of a 
hundred gems. In spite of these troubles, Federico 
Gonzaga eagerly carried on his architectural works, 
and Giulio Romano and a whole band of assistants 
were employed to decorate the sumptuous halls of 
the Palazzo del T^. So intent was the young Mar- 
quis on his plans, that he made a great favour of 
allowing the artists in his service to carry out any 
improvements in Isabella's houses. On one occasion 
he wrote from his favourite villa of Marmirolo, which 
was also being decorated on a lavish scale, to Giulio 
Romano in these terms : " Messer Giulio, — Hearing 
that the illustrious Madonna, our honoured mother, 
wishes Maestro Battista to make those new rooms 
of which she spoke, we beg you to explain to Her 
Excellency, that although this will be veiy incon- 
venient to us at a time when so many workmen 
in our pay are ill and unable to work, we are willing 
that M. Battista should serve her for this one week. 
But I beg you to entreat Her Excellency, in our 

^ " Letters and Papers, Foreign and Domestic, Henry VIII.," iv. 

VOL. 11. S 


name, not to keep him more than a week, as this 
would cause us great inconvenience and expense." ^ 

Isabella, it is clear, had returned from Rome full 
of plans for the decoration of her palaces, and the 
eighteenth-century historian, Bettinelli, tells us that 
in his time, a gallery with elegantly painted ara- 
besques, leading from the Studio of the Grotta to the 
garden-court, bore the date of 1527.^ Unfortunately 
one of the galleys laden with the precious marbles, 
tapestries, and porcelain which the Marchesa had 
collected with so much trouble and expense in Rome, 
fell into the hands of Saracen pirates, and only a 
few of these treasures ever reached Mantua. Among 
these priceless works of art were two of the Vatican 
tapestries, executed from Raphael's designs — the 
Conversion of Saul, and S. Paul in the Areopagus, 
— which Ferrante Gonzaga rescued from Spanish 
soldiers and sent to Mantua for safety.^ 

Among Isabella's own purchases were two figures 
which she had bought in Rome, from a dealer who 
bore the splendid name of Raphael of Urbino, for 43 
ducats, as was duly entered in her book of payments, 
under the date of January 14, 1527.* After the 
marbles were brought to her house, the Marchesa 
discovered to her great indignation that these 
statues were not antiques, and promptly sent 
them back to the dealer, demanding the return 
of her money. Then came the siege and sack 
of Rome, and in the general confusion that 
followed no more was heard of Messer Raphael. 

1 D'Arco, Arte, &c., ii. 153. 

2 S. Bettinelli^ Delle lettere e d. arti Mantovani, p. 87. 

3 Luzio, Arch. St. Lomb. xxxv. 89. 
* Gaye, Carteggio, ii. 192, &c. 


After her return to JNlaiitua, the Marchesa wrote 
to Francesco Gonzaga, who had gone back to 
Rome with the Pope, begging him to inquire 
into the matter, and obtain the restoration of 
her ducats, or, if these are not forthcoming, of 
the statues, since to lose both would be "an unfair 
and iniquitous thing." " If M. Raphael," she adds 
in a postscript, " persists in saying that these figures 
are antique, you can give him the opinions of M. 
Giacomo Sansovino the sculptor, of Colombo the 
antiquarian, and of a sculptor called Lorenzo, all 
of whom pronounced the said figures to be modern. 
All three are highly skilled in the art of sculpture, 
so that their opinion is of great weight." M. 
Raphael, however, still declared that his statues 
were antiques, and that one was lost, but begged 
the Marchesa to accept the remaining figure, 
together with two majolica vases which had been 
ordered by Monsignore Palmieri before the siege, but 
were now left on his hands. Isabella repUed that, if she 
could not have her ducats, she would prefer to have 
a certain fine medal which he had shown her in 
Rome. But this medal, the dealer said, had been 
lost, with many others of his most valuable objects, 
during the occupation of Rome by the Imperialists, 
so that he was left almost penniless. The Marchesa, 
however, would not be so easily satisfied, and ad- 
dressed another letter to her ambassador on the 
14th of August. 

*' It is all very well," she wrote, " for M. Raphael 
to plead poverty, and make himself out so destitute, 
but our beUef is that he does not choose to satisfy 
us in any form. Neither can we understand the 
truth of his excuse, since we know that, when the 


Colonnas pillaged the Borgo, he told us that he had 
sent this antique medal with all his most precious 
things out of Rome. This makes us feel sure that, 
if he were so prompt in saving his medal on that 
occasion, he must have been still more expeditious 
before the invasion of the Spaniards and the sack 
of Rome. If he denies this, we shall not believe 
him so readily, but shall remain convinced that he 
could let us have the medal if he chose. So we beg 
you to ask him for this again, and assure him that 
we would rather have nothing in exchange for our 
statuettes than put up with poor and vulgar things." 
Again, on the 4th of September, she repeated 
her conviction that M. Raphael had the medal, and 
did not see how he could refuse to let her have it 
if he had any shred of honesty left I But the unfor- 
tunate dealer seems really to have been unable to 
gratify the Marchesa's wish, and after a protracted 
correspondence, Isabella wrote curtly to Francesco 
Gonzaga on the 29th, saying that she would be 
content with the things which M. Raphael offered, 
and desired them to be sent to Mantua by the 
next courier. The ambassador was not more suc- 
cessful in recovering a marble bas-relief which the 
Marchesa had bought, but allowed to remain in a 
dealer's shop for greater safety, and which, after the 
sack, had passed into Cardinal di Cesi's hands. This 
prelate courteously but firmly declined to give up 
his possession, and after a protracted correspondence, 
Isabella told her ambassador that it was clear Mon- 
signore meant to keep the relief, and that as she did 
not wish to go to law with him, he had better say 
no more.^ 

1 Gaye, op. cit.^ p. 192-5. 


Fortunately the Marchesa was able to recover 
another of her Roman purchases, a collection of silver 
medals which she had left in the charge of her son 
Ferrante. When this prince retired to Velletri, 
he gave his mother's medals to Messer Pandolfo 
Pico della Mirandola, the agent who had told her of 
Raphael's death. On Ferrante's return to Rome, 
however, the medals were missing, and it was not till 
February 1529 that the Marchesa sent the painter 
Sebastiano del Piombo, to find out what Pandolfo 
had done with them. Sebastiano, who was then in 
Venice, informed her that he was soon leaving for 
Rome, and would execute her commission on his 
arrival without fail. On the 1st of March, Isabella 
repUed : — 

*^ Magistro Sebastiano Luciano, — We have re- 
ceived your reply to our letter about the medals, 
and are very glad to hear that you are going to 
Rome in a few days, because by this means we hope 
to receive them shortly. And we hope you will be 
so good as to give them to our ambassador at the 
Vatican, who has orders to send them to us by the 
best and safest way, and for this we shall be very 
grateful. — Isabella, March. Mant."^ 

The Venetian master was as good as his word, 
and the medals were safely forwarded to Mantua, 
and presented by the Marchesa to her son Federico, 
who thanked her exceedingly for the gift, which he 
valued highly. Sebastiano was already well known 
both to the Marquis and his mother, who had a 
high opinion of his merit as a portrait painter. 
In May 1524, Federico wrote to one of his corre- 
spondents in Rome begging for a small picture from 

^ Gaye, op, cit., p, 178. 


the hand of Sebastianello Veneziano, " not figures of 
Madonnas or Saints, but some fine and beautiful 
invention." The Marquis, it seems, was anxious to 
emulate the collection of paintings by different 
masters, which adorned his mother's Studio of the 
Grotta.^ Four years later, when the newly-made 
Cardinal Ercole went to pay his respects to the 
exiled Pope, he fell in with the Venetian master, 
who was an intimate friend of the humanist Molza, 
and wrote to his mother from Orvieto on the 25th 
of March 1528 :— 

" A few days ago, Maestro Sebastiano, a painter 
whose art is as excellent as his reputation is great, 
came to pay me his respects. I begged him to take 
my likeness, because the other day, when I was in 
Mantua, I remember hearing Your Excellency say 
that he painted very life-like portraits, and he has 
promised to do this as soon as he can procure 
the requisite colours. As soon as the picture is 
painted I will send it to Your Excellency." 

Isabella replied without delay, on the 6th of 
April : — 

" I told you, and repeat now, that it is perfectly 
true this 3Iaestro has the most admirable skill in 
portraiture, and I am greatly delighted to hear of 
your intention, all the more since you are going 
to send me this portrait. I assure you that nothing 
in the world would please me better." ^ 

Now that Federico had transferred so much of 
his affections to his mistress, Isabella Boschetti, and 
that Ferrante was constantly engaged in military 
service, Ercole occupied an increasingly large place 

^ Gaye, op. ciL, ii. 10. 

2 Luzio in Emporium, 1900, p. 431. 


in his mother's heart. The young Cardinal was an 
attentive son, and his frequent letters to Isabella 
abound in allusions to artistic and literary matters. 
While he was still at Bologna he became a collector. 
In January 1523, hearing that Alberto Pio da 
Carpi had been declared a rebel and deprived of his 
State by Prospero Colonna, he begged that general 
to allow him to buy the exiled prince's hbrary, which 
was said to contain the finest collection of Greek and 
Latin authors in all Italy. Colonna readily agreed 
to grant his request, but before he obtained possession 
of the famous library, Alberto's brother, Leonello 
Pio, recovered Carpi by a fortunate stroke, much to 
Ercole's disappointment. After the sack of Rome, 
the poet Molza found himself compelled to sell his 
own library, and wrote to his old friend Ercole in 
April 1529, imploring him to buy it, lest so noble a 
collection should leave Italy. " If Your Excellency 
does not buy the books," he adds, " I fear they are 
sure to go to England, which God forbid should 
happen in the Ufetime of the Cardinal of Mantua 1" ^ 

In May 1528, Isabella received the sad news of 
her old friend Emilia Pia's death at Urbino. Elisa- 
betta Gonzaga's devoted companion did not long 
survive the sister-in-law whom she had loved so well, 
and died very suddenly on the 21st of May, without 
being able to make her will or receive the last Sacra- 
ments. This excellent lady, whose virtues were known 
to all, was singularly free from the prejudices and 
superstitions of her age, and often discussed rehgious 
questions with a frankness which excited suspicion in 
certain quarters. It was now reported at Orvieto, 
that Madonna Emilia had died repeating passages 
* Luzio in Giom. St., viii. 385. 


from Castiglione's " Cortigiano " to Lodovico da 
Canossa, instead of devoutly commending her soul 
to God. The Pope asked the Urbino ambassador 
if this were true, but he denied the report in- 
dignantly, and wrote to Leonora Gonzaga, saying : 
" What tales people tell I I for one do not believe 
the story. Still, even this may be possible. None the 
less, I pray that our Lord God may receive her soul 
in peace." 

Three months afterwards, Emilia Pia's niece, 
the accomplished Veronica Gambara, wrote an 
interesting letter to the Marchesa, telling her of a 
picture which the young painter of Correggio, An- 
tonio AUegri, had just finished. A daughter of 
Gianfrancesco Gambara of Brescia, and of Alda Pia, 
Veronica belonged to a group of younger women, 
remarkable for beauty and culture, who looked up 
to the Marchesa with great respect, and felt highly 
honoured by her friendship. In 1503, when she was 
barely eighteen, we find Veronica writing to thank 
Isabella for the great goodness which she had shown 
her, and after her marriage to Giberto I., lord of 
Correggio, in 1508,^ stood sponsor to her eldest son. 
Giberto died in 1518, but Veronica, who was his 
second wife, remained faithful to his memory, and 
devoted herself to literature and the education of 
his children. Her own poems were highly esteemed 
by contemporary scholars, especially by Pietro 
Bembo, who corresponded with this princess from the 
days of her girlhood. Veronica herself often visited 
Mantua, and was on friendly terms with Castiglione, 
Molza, and many other members of Isabella's circle. 
She was deeply interested in the gifted painter 

1 V. Rossi, Musica in Urbino, p. 6. 


Allegri, who was a native of Correggio. A pupil of 
the Ferrara artist, Lorenzo Costa, Allegri probably ac- 
companied his master to Mantua in 1508, and one of 
his early works, the charming Madonna at Hampton 
Court, was in the Gonzaga collection. He afterwards 
worked for Alessandro Gonzaga da Novellara, who 
married Giberto da Correggio's daughter, Costanza. 
In the last years of his life, he was often employed 
by the IMarquis Federico, and the beautiful Antiope 
of the Louvre, and the Education of Cupid, which 
both came to England in the Mantuan collection, 
were probably painted before this date. So that 
Correggio was already well known to Isabella when 
Veronica Gambara wrote the following letter : — 

" I should fail in my duty to Your Excellency if I 
did not tell you of the masterpiece of painting which 
our Antonio Allegri has just completed, knowing, as 
I do, how much pleasure it would give Your High- 
ness, who is so excellent a judge of these things. The 
picture represents the Magdalen in the desert in a 
dark cavern, whither she has fled in her penitence. 
She kneels on the right, lifting clasped hands to heaven 
and imploring pardon for her sins. Her beautiful 
attitude, and the expression of deep but noble sorrow 
on her most lovely face, are so striking that every 
one who has seen the picture is filled with wonder. 
In this work the painter has expressed all that is most 
sublime in the art of which he is so great a master." ^ 

Isabella, we know, was very short of money at this 
moment, and could hardly afford to buy the picture, 
much as she may have wished to possess it. But it 
is worthy of notice that in a letter written from 
Parma about the same time, by Carlo Malaspina, he 

^ W. Braghirolli, Giom. di Enid. Art., i. 325. 


remarks that the Marchesa di Novellara has heard 
from Ortensio Landi that Correggio has lately painted 
a beautiful Magdalen for the Magnificent S ignore di 

Whether the Marchesa ever owned a Magdalen 
by Correggio or not, we know that two admirable 
tempera paintings from his hand adorned her 
Grotta. In the inventory of 1642, these works 
are described as : " Two pictures by the entrance 
door, from the hand of the late Antonio da Correggio, 
one of which represents the story of Apollo and 
Marsyas, the other the three virtues, Justice, Tem- 
perance and Fortitude, teaching a child to measure 
time, in order that he may win the palm and be 
crowned with laurel." And in Vanderdoort's ^ inven- 
tory of Charles the First's collection the same paintings 
are described as : "One large and famous picture 
painted upon cloth in water-colours, kept shut up in 
a wooden case, where they are tormenting and flaying 
Marsyas. The second, another the like piece in water- 
colours of Anthony Correggio, being an unknown 
story containing four entire figures in a land skip, and 
four angels in the clouds." The Commonwealth in- 
ventory is still vaguer in its interpretation, and 
merely enters Correggio's temperas as A Satire 
Flead (flayed) and Another of the Same, but values 
them at the high price of £1000, for which they 
were actually bought by the banker Jabach. 

The true title of these paintings was the Triumph 
of the Vices and of the Virtues. In the one, a 
naked man is seen bound to a tree. Evil Habit, 
a woman wearing vipers in her hair, binds him with 

^ Braghirolli, op. ciL, 33% 
« P. 76. 


cords, and Pleasure plays a flute in his ear, seeking 
to drown the voice of Conscience, a figure clad in 
violet, who darts scorpions at the helpless victim, 
while a mischievous satyr dangles a bunch of grapes 
before his eyes. In the other, three tall and stately 
women are grouped round a fair boy in armour. 
Justice, clad in a coat of mail, leans on her lance. 
Fortitude reclines on a lion's skin, with sword and 
bridle in her hand, and Wisdom measures the globe 
with one hand, while with the other she points to 
the wide valley and distant hills, telHng the youthful 
scholar that the future as well as the past are all 
hers to give. Three genii, playing musical instru- 
ments, hover in the golden light above the trees, 
and one floats downwards with a wreath to crown 
the child trained in the paths of virtue. 

These subjects agree exactly in style and character 
with the compositions by Mantegna, Perugino, and 
Costa, which already adorned Isabella's Studio. They 
were, no doubt, invented by the Marchesa herself, 
with the help of some favourite humanist, and painted 
in tempera by the young master of Correggio to 
match AndresLsfantasie. If their allegorical nature 
was little suited to the painter's genius, he has shown 
great skill in overcoming the difficulties of the theme, 
and has given us forms of real grace and beauty, set 
in a landscape of exquisite charm. 

Soon after Isabella's return from Rome, two pic- 
tures by a still greater master reached Mantua. These 
were the portraits of Pietro Aretino, and of the Vene- 
tian patrician Adorno, an old friend of the Gonzagas, 
who had managed to ingratiate himself with the 
Federico of late years. They were sent to the Mar- 
quis at the Aretine's suggestion, with a letter from 


Titian, begging him to accept these pictures of his 
two friends, which he thinks may be agreeable to 
His Excellency, whose love of painting is well known, 
and has been proved by his generous patronage of 
Messer Giuho Romano. Both Federico and his 
mother were delighted with these portraits, now 
alas I lost to the world, and endeavoured by eveiy 
means in their power to bring Titian to Mantua. 
The painter, however, was not able to accept their 
pressing invitations until March 1529, when Alfonso 
d'Este sent him to Mantua with a letter, cordially 
recommending this favourite master to his nephew, 
but begging him not to keep him too long. It was, 
there can be no doubt, during the month which he 
spent at the court of the Gonzagas, at this time, 
that Titian painted his first portrait of Isabella. 
Unfortunately this precious picture, the only portrait 
of the Marchesa which Titian painted from life, went 
to England, where it was described as a "Duchess 
of Mantua, in a red gowne," and valued at £50 at 
the time of the King's sale, after which it was never 
heard of again. Before this, however, it was copied 
by Rubens when he visited Mantua early in the seven- 
teenth century, and the Flemish master's copy now 
hangs in the Imperial Gallery at Vienna.^ Rubens has 
coarsened the features and vulgarised the forms of 
Titian's model, but, in the absence of the lost original, 
his work is of great interest, and gives us some idea 
of Isabella's appearance in ripe middle age. The Mar- 
chesa wears a handsome robe of crimson velvet with 
a gold girdle, a long necklace round her bare throat, 
and an open chemisette of frilled muslin, studded 
with gems. Her dark locks have not yet lost the 

1 No. 845. 


golden-brown tint of earlier years, but are partly 
hidden by a turban-shaped cap of puckered silk, 
richly adorned with jewels. This style of coiffure, as 
we know, had been adopted by Isabella more than 
twenty years before. In 1509, her cousin. Countess 
Eleonora Rusca, the daughter of Niccolo da Correggio, 
wrote from her husband's castle of Locarno on Lago 
Maggiore, asking the Marchesa's leave to borrow this 
invention of hers, which had been already adopted by 
several Milanese ladies, and wear a similar head-dress, 
as she had lost her hair in a recent illness.^ Isa- 
bella's natural tendency to embonpoint had evidently 
increased with years, and when Titian painted her at 
the age of fifty-five, she was decidedly matronly in 
appearance. But her handsome features are still the 
same as in Leonardo's drawing and Cristoforo's medal, 
and bear a remarkable hkeness to those of her 
daughter Leonora. Both face and form are full of 
character, and the whole has an air of dignified repose 
not unbecoming the Marchesa's age and rank. We 
see before us a noble woman of refined taste and 
clear intellect, already past the noontide of life, who 
has known the best and the worst that life has to 
give, and who, serene and untroubled, neither vexed 
by dark presentiments nor deluded by false hopes, can 
await the coming morrow in the spirit of her own 
motto — Nee spe nee metu^ 

^ Luzio in Arch. St. Lomb., 1901, p. 171. 

^ Since these lines were in print, M. Leopold Goldschmidt has 
acquired a superb Titian from a private English collection, in 
which the best critics recognise the original portrait of Isabella 
d'Este. The features have all the delicacy that is wanting in Rubens's 
copy, the expression is more refined and intellectual, and the whole 
has that indefinable air of distinction and nobility which stamps the 
great Venetian's art. See Gazette d. Beatux Arts, 1903, p. 106. 



Marriage of Ercole d'Este to Renee de France — Isabella goes to 
Modena to receive the bride — Fetes at Ferrara — Character 
of Renee — Isabella's regard for her niece — Renee's sympathy 
with French and Italian reformers — Isabella's toleration — 
Messibugo's Book of Ercole's festival — Treaties of Barcelona 
and Cambray — Charles V. lands at Genoa — Is entertained by 
the Duke of Ferrara on his way to Bologna — Ferrante Gonzaga 
marches against Florence — Isabella visits Solarolo — Arrives at 
Bologna for the Congress — State entry of Charles V. 

In the autumn of 1528, Isabella went to Ferrara 
and was present at the festivities in honour of her 
nephew Ercole's marriage to Renee, daughter of 
Louis XII., King of France, and sister of the 
reigning Queen Claude. The successful campaign 
of the French armies under Lautrec in Naples had 
encouraged the Duke of Ferrara to renew his old 
alliance with Francis I.,^ and on the 28th of June the 
wedding of his son Ercole with this monarch's sister- 
in-law, the Princess Renee, was solemnised with 
great splendour in the Samte Chapelle. After a 
succession of hunting-parties and balls at Fontaine- 
bleau and St. Germain, the bridal pair set out for 
Italy on the 20th of September, as Bartolom- 
meo Prospero wrote from Montargis to inform 
the Marchesa. " They will travel," he writes, " by 
slow stages through Lyons, Turin, Parma, Reggio, 
and Modena, and wiU hardly reach Ferrara before 

^ Guicciardiui, Sloria d' Italia, ix. 314. 



the middle of November. Here," he adds, "there 
is no other news, saving a report that the Empress 
is ill of an infectious disease, and that the Chancellor 
of Spain is dying. Cardinal Campeggio has arrived 
at court on his way to England, and holds a com- 
mission from the Pope, it is said, to make peace 
between the Powers." Meanwhile, the Duke of 
Ferrara, in his anxiety to do honour to this princess 
of France, begged Isabella to assist in her reception, 
since his only daughter Leonora was still a child. 
Thirty-seven years had passed since Isabella, then 
herself a youthful bride, had brought her young 
sister-in-law, Anna Sforza, to Ferrara ; and twenty- 
five years since, in the full pride of her beauty, she 
had assisted at Lucrezia Borgia's wedding. Now 
she once more came back to her old home to wel- 
come the heir of Ferrara's bride, for the third time in 
her long and eventful life. At her brother's request, 
she came to Modena early in November, and re- 
ceived the bride when she made her triumphal entry 
amid such firing of guns, blowing of trumpets, and 
ringing of bells, that it seemed, says the chronicler, 
as if the sky and air would crumble to pieces.^ 
After a fortnight spent in fetes and rejoicings, Ercole 
and his bride went on to Belvedere, the superb 
new palace — celebrated by Ariosto in his Orlando— 
which Alfonso had built on an island in the Po. 
A description of this wonderful summer palace, with 
its halls and chapel decorated by Dossi, its stately 
terraces and stairs leading down to the river, and 
delicious gardens planted with orange groves and 
box hedges, and adorned with marble loggias and 
fountains, had been lately written by the Ferrarese 

^ Fontana, Renaia di Francia, i. 64, &a 


poet, Bordoni, and dedicated to the Marchesa Isa- 
bella.^ After spending the night in this enchanted 
spot, the royal bride sailed down the Po to Ferrara 
in the ducal bucentaur, and was received at the 
Porta S. Paola by Ercole's brother Ippolito, Arch- 
bishop of Milan, the ambassadors of France, Venice, 
and Mantua, and all the clergy and doctors of 
Ferrara, who escorted her through the Strada Grande 
to the Duomo. The streets were hung with red, 
green, and white draperies ; and a hundred pages 
in black satin livery, with rose-coloured caps and 
stockings, preceded by the Spanish court jester, 
Diego, riding on a dromedary, led the way. The 
bride followed, borne in a crimson litter under a 
golden baldacchino, and attended by Madame de 
Soubise on horseback, and fourteen French ladies 
in a chariot. The plague had lately ravaged Ferrara, 
and the chronicler's description of the misery of its 
inhabitants forms a melancholy contrast to the splen- 
dour of the bridal procession. " The streets were 
deserted and the shops closed. Every day dead 
corpses were found at the doors of the churches, 
and people might be heard in the streets crying, 
' I die of hunger,' with no one reUeving them." 
But a decree had been issued commanding all good 
subjects to put off their mourning and appear in gay 
attire to welcome their young Duchess, and the loyal 
Ferrarese, who loved a pageant dearly, thronged 
the streets and Piazza of the Duomo, where the 
bride alighted, and received the benediction of the 
Archbishop and the keys of the city, which, by 
the Duke's orders, were presented to his daughter- 
in-law in a silver bowl. 

^ Gruyer, op. cit., ii. 137. 


The Marchesa Isabella was awaiting the bride at 
the foot of the grand marble staircase of the Este 
palace, and led her by the hand into the Sala 
Grande, which was hung with priceless gold and 
silken tapestries. Here the ambassadors presented 
her with presents of brocades and velvet and dam- 
ask, and the chief citizens brought oxen and calves, 
cheeses, and capons for her acceptance. Ren^e 
wore her wedding robe of gold brocade, with a 
necklace of enormous pearls and a gold crown on 
her head, which, in the opinion of Luigi Gonzaga, 
the Mantuan ambassador, to whom we owe these 
details, was out of place, since Ercole's bride was, 
after all, not a queen, but only the daughter of a 
king ! Her appearance also gave rise to some debate 
among the courtiers. She was short and awkward, 
and her figure was slightly deformed, which made 
the ladies of Ferrara, who remembered the beauty 
of Anna Sforza and the sweet face and golden hair 
of Lucrezia Borgia, declare that the new Duchess 
was very unlike these lamented ladies, being small, 
ugly, and hunchbacked. Her health was delicate, 
and she was unable to speak Italian, or to understand 
what was said without the help of an interpreter. 
She also showed a marked preference for French 
attendants and French fashions, and Isabella's old 
friend, Bernardo Tasso, was the only Italian whom 
she took into her service, and employed as secretary. 
Altogether, the first impression formed of the new 
Duchess on her arrival at Ferrara can hardly be said 
to have been a favourable one. But closer acquaint- 
ance went far to remove these prejudices. Her 
manners were gracious and winning, her conversa- 
tion full of charm and wit; and although she was 



too French in her tastes to be popular in Ferrara, 
she soon won the affection of her father-in-law. 
Her genuine love of learning attracted the foremost 
scholars to the ducal court. She herself presided 
over an Academy which held its sittings in her rooms, 
and became the patron of all the charitable institu- 
tions in the city. Rende was deeply religious by 
nature, and had shown her interest in the doctrines of 
the reformers before she left France. Clement Marot 
wrote a nuptial hymn in her honour, and spoke in 
his writings of " de noble coeur de Renee de France " / 
and the Geneva Protestant, Calvin, was received by 
the Duchess at Ferrara in 1536. Vittoria Colonna 
soon became one of her greatest friends, and brought 
her friend, the Dominican friar, Bernardino Ochino, 
to preach in the Duomo of Ferrara. 

Isabella, herself never took any great interest 
in the new doctrines that were held by so many 
of her friends in Rome and Venice. No one was 
further removed from bigotry, or more averse to 
religious persecution. She protected the Jews in 
Mantua as far as possible, issued edicts relieving 
them from disabilities whenever she held the reins 
of government, and was always in favour of a large 
and kindly toleration. In her eyes Pomponazzi's 
merits as a teacher outweighed any scruples as 
to the orthodoxy of his beliefs, and she trusted 
her son to him without fear. Her active mind, 
centred as it was on the present, never seriously 
pursued either metaphysical or theological inquiries. 
She accepted the Church's teaching as she had re- 
ceived it from her mother's lips, and did not trouble 
herself with the inconsistency or the crimes of its 
rulers. But although Isabella had little sympathy 


with Renee's views on these matters, she was at- 
tracted by her superior intelligence and literary 
tastes, and in the difficulties which the young French 
princess had to encounter from the prejudices of the 
Italian courtiers, she proved her wisest and most loyal 

During the week following the bride's state 
entry, a series of Ariosto's comedies was performed 
in the ducal theatre, and on one occasion Alfonso's 
youngest son, Francesco, a boy of twelve, himself 
recited the prologue. After this, Isabella returned to 
spend Christmas at JNIantua with her sons, but came 
back to Ferrara early in January to assist at the 
Twelfth Night and Carnival festivities, which were of 
unusual splendour. On the 13th, her secretary, Trida- 
pale, wrote the following letter to the Marquis : — 
" Last Sunday the quintain races took place, but there 
was little spirit about them. Few young men ran, 
and the games began late and ended early. Madama 
la Duchessa, with her ladies and gentlemen and our 
own, looked on from the windows and balconies of 
these rooms, but 3Iadama mia lUustrissima pre- 
ferred to remain by the fire talking to the gentle- 
men who came to visit Her Excellency. To-night 
there was dancing both before and after supper till 
eleven o'clock ; but the small size of the room and 
the immense number of people assembled made the 
Jest a more tiresome than enjoyable, and there was 
great confusion among the dancers. The Duke had 
ordered the ' Mensechmi ' to be given in the French 
tongue on Sunday ; but, for what cause I know not, 
this has been put off till next week." ' But the most 
sumptuous of all the fetes on this occasion was the 

^ D'Ancona, Teatro, ii. 430, 


banquet given by the young Duke Ercole in the 
great hall of the Castello on the 24th of January,^ 
an entertainment so memorable even in the annals 
of this gay court that it was made the subject of a 
volume published twenty years later by the Duke's 
seneschal, Messibugo, and still preserved in the 
Bibliotheque Nationale. More than a hundred guests 
met that evening in the magnificent halls of the 
Castello, lined with marble and alabaster of glittering 
whiteness and painted by the hand of Titian and 
Dossi. The brilliantly-lighted table, fifty-five braccie 
long, was adorned with twenty-five figures of the 
gods of Olympus in gilt and coloured sugar, designed 
by the best artists in Ferrara, under the direction of 
Messibugo, who on this occasion surpassed himself in 
skill and ingenuity. Chief among them was a group 
of Hercules strangling the lion, in honour of the 
bridegroom, Ercole d'Este. Half-way through the 
banquet a second series of similar figures was placed 
on the table, with a group of Hercules grappling 
with the hydra as centre-piece. This was succeeded 
by a third array, in which Hercules taming the 
Minotaur was the principal object. Each course 
was heralded by a troop of musicians, playing the 
flute, viol, cornet, lyre, and harp, and singing 
madrigals and rondeaux, under the direction of 
Alfonso di Viola, the conductor of the orchestra of 
the Duomo, while sweet organ melodies were heard 
in the distance. At the conclusion of the banquet 
attar of roses and other choice perfumes were handed 
to the guests in delicately-wrought bowls, and silk 
and gold flowers of exquisite form and colour were 
presented to the ladies. Last of all, a great golden 

^ Gruyer, op. cit. ii. 5^5. 


pasty was placed in the centre of the board, and when 
the Hd was removed a quantity of necklaces, brace- 
lets, eaiTings, and brooches were brought to light. 
The guests drew lots for these jewels, some of which 
were worth as much as fifty ducats a piece, amid 
great mirth and laughter, after which Ariosto's 
Cassaria was performed in another hall under the 
poet's own direction. The entertainment closed with 
a ball, which was kept up till daybreak ; but Isabella, 
we learn, prudently retired at midnight. 

Hardly had the sound of wedding festivities 
died away, than events took place which altered 
Alfonso's whole pohcy. The disastrous result of 
the French invasion of Naples, and the death of 
Lautrec, who was carried off by the plague, together 
with the flower of his army, proved fatal to Francis 
the First's ambitious designs. The Pope now threw 
himself into the Emperor's arms, and, after prolonged 
negotiations, concluded the Treaty of Barcelona on 
the 29th of June 1529. By this agreement the pontiff 
was to recover possession of his lost dominions, in- 
cluding Modena and Reggio, to which he still laid 
claim, and Clement's kinsman, Alessandro, the son of 
the dead Lorenzo, was to be reinstated in Florence, 
which had shaken off the yoke of the Medici im- 
mediately after the capture of Rome. The defeat of 
St. Pol's army in Lombardy by Leyva destroyed 
Francis the First's last hopes, and in August a treaty 
was signed at Cambray by the Emperor's aunt, 
Margaret of Austria, and the King of France's 
mother, Louise de Savoie. By this agreement, 
Charles V. remained in undisturbed possession of 
Naples and Lombardy, and Francis I. sacrificed his 
allies of Florence and Ferrara to the Pope's vengeance. 


The triumph of Charles was complete, and on 
the 12th of August he landed at Genoa, and for the 
first time set foot in Italy. It had long been his wish 
to receive the imperial crown in Rome, but the 
horrors of the siege were still fresh in the minds of all, 
and Bologna was eventually chosen as the meeting- 
place between the Pope and Emperor-elect. Cardinal 
Ercole Gonzaga was sent by the Pope to meet 
Charles at Genoa, together with the two young 
Medici princes, Alessandro, who was soon to receive 
the title of Duke of Florence, and Giuliano's son, 
Ippolito, who at the age of eighteen had already 
been created a cardinal. The Emperor announced 
his intention of visiting his good friend, the Marquis 
of Mantua, on the way to Bologna, and both Federico 
and his mother made great preparations to receive 
their illustrious guest. But before Charles started 
on his journey, the Duke of Ferrara, eager to in- 
gratiate himself with the all-powerful monarch, 
begged him to take the shorter road through 
Reggio and Modena, and placed himself and his 
subjects unreservedly at His Majesty's disposal. 
Alfonso himself rode out to meet Charles near Reggio, 
and pleaded his cause with so much eloquence 
that the Emperor not only accepted his invita- 
tion, but spent several days in his company. The 
Duke entertained him splendidly both at Reggio 
and Modena, and finally escorted him to the border 
of his territories on his way to Bologna. Meanwhile 
Isabella, realising all the importance of the occasion, 
and feeling how great were the issues at stake, de- 
cided to visit Bologna herself and meet the supreme 
heads of the spiritual and temporal world. The 
Emperor was known to look with especial favour 


on the house of Gonzaga, and had shown himself 
graciously disposed both to the Marquis and Cardinal 
Ercole, while their brother Ferrante, and cousin, 
Luigi Rodomonte, were among the most valiant 
captains in his service. Ferrante, in fact, was at 
this moment marching against Florence, as lieutenant 
to the Prince of Orange, at the head of an Imperial 
army, which was to besiege the doomed city and 
crush her last hopes of freedom. 

On the 18th of September this young prince wrote 
the following letter to his mother from the Imperial 
camp at Castiglione di Arezzo ^ : — 

"Most illustrious Lady and dearest Mother, — 
Although only four days have passed since I wrote 
to Your Excellency in reply to the letter which you 
sent me by Messer Salviati da Gubbio, I must tell you 
of my well-being and of the splendid success of this 
invincible army. We have lately obtained possession 
of Cortona, one of the strongest cities of the Floren- 
tine Republic, after besieging it during three days 
and destroying a great portion of the walls. Last 
night the garrison surrendered at discretion, the 
Prince of Orange refusing to grant any conditions 
excepting security of life and property to the citizens. 
The soldiers gave up their arms, after which they 
were set free, and the city was placed under com- 
missioners appointed by His Holiness. To-night we 
are at Castiglione, and were intending to attack 
Arezzo to-morrow, but hear that it has surren- 
dered and been abandoned by its garrison, so we 
shall march straight against Florence. If Your 
Excellency wishes to know the strength of our forces, 
we have 9000 Italian foot, 4000 German, and 2000 
1 D'Arco, op. cit. 297. 


Spanish infantry, 40 lances, and 650 liglit horse, all 
of thern picked men, eager for battle. And now, 
from my heart, I commend myself to Your Ex- 
cellency, whose most gracious person may God 
preserve and prosper in all her ways I — Your son, 
Ferrante. From the camp of the most fortunate 
Caesarean army, near Castiglione Aretino." 

So with a light heart and high courage the young 
soldier led his forces against the ancient stronghold 
of Italian liberties, while on the bulwarks of San 
Miniato, Michelangelo was repairing the bastions to 
defend Florence in her last struggle. 

When this letter reached Mantua, Isabella was 
preparing to start on her journey, but on the way 
to Bologna she paid a visit to a Httle town some 
miles farther south, which had lately acquired a new 
interest in her eyes. This was Solarolo, a small fief 
near Imola, which Leo X. had bestowed in 1514 
upon Cardinal Sigismondo Gonzaga, in gratitude for 
his support at the time of his election, and which, 
after that prelate's death in 1525, Isabella bought for 
a small sum of money. The Marchesa now for the 
first time paid a visit to her new subjects, in whose 
welfare she took the deepest interest, and whose city 
she adorned with many fine buildings, during the 
last years of her hfe.^ After a sojourn of some weeks 
in this pleasant little town, Isabella proceeded to 
Bologna, accompanied by a brilhant suite, and in the 
last days of November entered the city in state. '^ 

^ Renier in Italia, 1888, p. 16. The writer of this article there 
infoiined us that he had in his possession documents regarding this 
interesting episode in Isabella's life, which he reserved for future 
publication, but which have not yet appeared. 

2 M. Sanuto, Diarii, lii. 144. 


The beauty of the maidens in her train, and the 
splendour of her chariots and Hveries, made a great 
impression on the crowds that were already assembled 
to witness the solemn meeting and public reconcilia- 
tion between the Pope and the monarch whose army 
had sacked Rome. Isabella alighted at the Palazzo 
Manzola on the Piazza di San Donato, close to 
S. Giacomo Maggiore, the favourite church of the 
BentivogU, and the chapel which held Francia and 
Costa's frescoes of St. Ceciha, not far from the 
ancient leaning towers of Garisenda and Asinelli 
sung by Dante in his Inferno. 

Here she spent the next four months, suiTounded 
by her family and friends, and witnessed the memor- 
able scenes which took place at Bologna in the course 
of that winter. The Pope arrived in the same week, 
after paying a visit to his old friend the Knight of 
S. John, Sabba da Castiglione, in his quiet retreat at 
the house of his order, near Faenza. He entered 
Bologna in state, wearing the triple tiara, and borne 
on the Sedia gestatona, with sixteen Cardinals in his 
train, but it was noticed how few acclamations greeted 
his coming, and scarcely a voice joined in the cry — 
Viva Papa Clement e! Charles V., on the contrary, 
received an enthusiastic welcome from the people, 
when, on the 5th of November, after sleeping at the 
convent of the Certosa outside the walls, he made his 
triumphal entry into the town. Isabella witnessed 
the solemn meeting between the Pope and monarch 
from a balcony opposite San Petronio, and on the 
next day wrote the following graphic account of the 
scene to her niece, Ren^e de France : — 

" Dearest and most Illustrious Lady, — Yesterday 
His Csesarean Majesty came from Castelfranco Bolog- 


nese to the Certosa, one mile from Bologna, and was 
first of all received by the Governor (Uberto Gam- 
bara) and his troops, and then by all those most 
reverend Cardinals, who had gone out to meet His 
Majesty with an infinite number of gentlemen. His 
Majesty spent the night at the Certosa with part of 
his suite, and those who could not find accommodation 
were lodged in Bologna, as well as the Monsignori who 
went out to salute him. To-day the entry into Bologna 
took place about two o'clock, in the following order. 
First of all came three companies of light horse bear- 
ing lances, all very well armed and mounted. Between 
them were the artillery and engineers, then fourteen 
companies of infantry, partly armed with cross-bows, 
and the rest with pikes and halberds — all very fine- 
looking men and well armed. In the midst of them 
was Signor Antonio de Leyva, unarmed, and carried 
in a chair by his servants, because he is crippled with 
gout, and truly there was in him — borne as he was by 
others — no less vigour and majesty than if he had 
been in the best of health and armed from head to 
foot. Behind these companies came the Burgundian 
horse, all clad in white armour, with velvet 
doublets of yellow, red, and green. After them 
rode another splendid company of light horse, armed 
with lances, and wearing cloth doublets of the same 
colours, and each Burgundian was followed by a page 
bearing his helmet and lance, mounted on a fine 
charger. Then came His Majesty's gentlemen- 
in- waiting ; all in full armour, and doublets and 
mantles of different fashions and devices, accord- 
ing to their own taste and fancy. Behind these 
gentlemen came His Majesty's pages, wearing caps 
of yellow velvet, with velvet suits of these three 


colours, yellow, grey, and purple, and they rode 
beautiful and graceful horses, jennets as well as 
others, all richly draped and harnessed. 

"At this moment His HoUness descended from 
his palace, borne in his chair, in full pontifical robes, 
and surrounded by his chamberlains and gentlemen 
of the bedchamber. The Ambassadors and all the 
most reverend Cardinals went on foot before him, 
walking two and two at a time, followed by infinite 
numbers of bishops and clergy, and mounted a wooden 
tribunal which had been erected on the steps in front 
of the church of San Petronio, draped with white 
cloth. The floor under the feet of His Holiness and 
the Cardinals was covered with red cloth, and the 
other portions occupied by less exalted personages were 
draped with different coloured carpets. On the oppo- 
site side of the Piazza came the royal procession, led by 
His Majesty's guards, all of them fine-looking men, 
wearing the same liveries as the court pages. Close be- 
hind them were Caesar's greatest and favourite courtiers 
on horseback, all armed, and wearing the richest 
doublets and mantles, which made a most beautiful 
and splendid show. Behind them, under a canopy of 
cloth of gold, borne by the chief citizens of Bologna, 
appeared His Cassarean Majesty with one of his 
nobles — the Grand Marshal Don Alvarez, Marquis 
Astorga — bearing his drawn sword aloft before him. 
His Majesty rode a most beautiful white jennet, and 
wore a doublet and vest of gold brocade, and was in 
full armour, only his right arm and breast being un- 
covered. At his stirrup walked forty young nobles 
of Bologna in white satin doublets, lined and slashed 
with gold brocade, with white velvet caps and plumes 
and rose-coloured hose, who met him at the gate by 


which His Majesty entered, .ind accompanied him 
on foot through the streets. 

" When he reached the steps of San Petronio, 
His Majesty alighted and presented himself be- 
fore His Holiness, who stood up to receive him, 
and after he had kissed his foot, hand, and lips, he 
was very tenderly embraced by the Holy Father, who 
made him take a seat on his right hand. The words 
which His Majesty said to His Holiness were these : 
* Padre sancto, soy venido a besar los pi^s de Vuestra 
Santitad, lo que es mucho tempo lo deseava, ayora 
lo compido co I'obra ; suplico a Dios que sea en su 
servicio y de V.S.' ' Holy Father, I have come to kiss 
the feet of Your Holiness, an act which I have long 
wished to do, and am at length allowed to accomplish, 
and I pray God that this may be for the glory of 
His service and of that of Your Holiness.' And 
these words were spoken by His Holiness in reply : 
'We thank God who has brought us to this day 
which we have so long desired to see, and hope that 
Your Majesty may be the means of gaining great 
things for the service of God and the good of Chris- 
tendom.' After this His Majesty rose to his feet 
and offered His Holiness a purse filled with gold 
pieces, among which were two of 100 ducats and 
a great many others, making in all a sum of 1000 
ducats. Then all those who were with His Majesty 
9n the tribunal kissed the feet of His HoHness the 
Pope. So they spent some time together, but had 
little opportunity for any private conversation. After 
that, they descended the steps, and Ceesar offered to 
conduct His HoUness back to the palace, but was 
induced by His Holiness to remain behind, and he 
entered San Petronio with four of the Cardinals, 


Cesarini, Ravenna, Naples, and Ridolfi, who remained 
in attendance on His Majesty. His Holiness then 
returned to his rooms borne in his chair, and accom- 
panied by the other Monsignori on foot. And while 
the Emperor alighted and knelt before the Pope, and 
entered San Petronio, the procession of his guards 
continued to advance, chiefly light horse and infantry 
with a great number of guns. And when he had 
offered thanks to our Lord God and performed the 
usual ceremonies, he walked, still on foot, between 
the Cardinals to the Palace, where his lodgings are 
prepared. I hear from those who have seen them, 
that they are so near those of His Holiness, that only 
a single wall divides one room from the other. 

"This spectacle, Madama mia, seemed to me so 
splendid that I confess I have never before seen, and 
can never expect to see again, anything at all equal 
to it. And if I had tried to describe all its details 
to Your Excellency, I should have given you too 
much to read ; but this I must tell you, that through 
all the streets where His Majesty passed, gold and 
silver coins were thrown to the people in token of 
rejoicing and princely liberality. It remains to us 
to implore God that the conference held by these 
two great lords who have met together here may 
produce those good results which we all desire, and 
lead to the restoration of universal peace in Christen- 
dom. I believe that Your Illustrious Highness will 
be informed of all these events, with perhaps even 
greater fulness, by your ambassador. None the less, 
to satisfy the request which was made to me a few 
days ago by one of your gentlemen here, I have 
tried to give you this account by letter." ^ 

i D'Arco, op. cii. 


The sight which Isabella had that day witnessed 
might well rouse her enthusiasm. There were many 
notable figures in the great procession that slowly 
wound its way through the ancient streets of Bologna. 
Close to the monarch's person rode the grandees 
of Spain, with their haughty bearing and gorgeous 
clothes, and chief among them the mighty soldier 
Leyva, under whose iron rule Milan groaned, borne 
high in his purple velvet litter on the shoulders of his 
servants. Cardinal Campeggio, the legate, was there, 
newly arrived from England, where he had been 
considering the vexed question of King Heniy the 
Eighth's divorce; and Ippolito dei Medici, the 
youngest member of the Sacred College, whose 
strikingly handsome face and dark eyes are familiar 
to us from Titians portrait, and must have 
reminded Isabella of his father, her old friend 
Giuliano. There was the aged Admiral Andrea 
Doria and the boy Marquis, Bonifazio of Monferrato, 
the last heir of that illustrious race of Paleologhi 
who had once reigned as Emperors in Constantinople. 
And there, too, were the German princes : the Count 
of Nassau, a magnificent-looking man, clad from 
head to foot in cloth of gold, Albert von Branden- 
burg, who claimed kinship with the Gonzagas, ahd 
the Count Palatine of the Rhine. But the most 
remarkable figure in all that splendid train, the 
one on whom all eyes were fixed that day, was 
Csesar himself, this young monarch of twenty-nine, 
on whose dominions the sun never set, and who held 
the fate of Italy in the hollow of his hand. The spec- 
tators were deeply impressed with the lofty air and 
majestic bearing, the fair locks and beard and fine blue 
eyes of the young Emperor, and admired the stately 


courtesy with which he doffed his black velvet cap to 
the ladies on the balconies and at the windows along 
the route. Isabella, who alone among them all had 
been present at the siege and sack of Rome, must have 
watched the meeting between Pope and Emperor 
with strangely-mingled feelings. The Pope, it was 
noticed, turned pale when Charles knelt before him, 
and the tears streamed down his cheeks as he bent 
down to salute the monarch. And when the Em- 
peror inquired after his health, Clement replied that 
he had felt distinctly better since he left Rome — a 
remark which made some of the Spanish courtiers 
smile. But these sad days were over, and Cardinals 
and princes looked forward, like Isabella, with high 
hopes to the conferences that were to close the long 
tale of warfare and misery, and bring back peace and 
prosperity to distracted Italy. 



Illustrious visitors to Bologna — Veronica Gambara and the human- 
ists — Isabella's political objects — Ferrante Gonzaga seeks the 
hand of Isabella Colonna, who is already wedded to Luigi 
Rodomonte — Favour shown to the Marquis of Mantua — 
Francesco Sforza receives the investiture of Milan — Proclama- 
tion of universal peace — Florence alone excluded from the 
League — Fetes and balls at Christmas and Carnival — Charles 
V. receives the iron crown of Lombardy and the golden crown 
of the Holy Roman Empire from the Pope's hands — Coronation 
in San Petronio — The Duke of Ferrara comes to Bologna, and 
is reconciled to the Pope. 

During the next four months, all the most illustrious 
personages in Italy met at Bologna to assist at the 
Emperor's coronation or to pay him homage. When 
Isabella d'Este arrived, she found Veronica Gambara 
living in the Palazzo JNIarsilio with her brother 
Uberto, the Governor of Bologna, while her other 
brother, Brunoro, the Imperial Chamberlain, arrived 
with Charles V. The Emperor himself honoured 
this distinguished lady with frequent visits, and her 
house became the meeting-place of all the humanists 
and poets who met in Bologna that winter. Conta- 
rini was there already as Venetian ambassador, and 
in December, Bembo arrived from Padua. Trissino, 
now high in the favour of Clement VII., accompanied 
him from Rome, and had the honour of bearing his 
train at the coronation ; while the historians, Paolo 
Giovio and the Florentine Guicciardini, were both in 



attendance on His Holiness. The former availed 
himself of the Marchesa's presence to beg a favour 
of her, as we learn from the following letter which 
Isabella addressed to the Castellan, Gian Giacomo 
Calandra : — 

"Zovan Jacopo, — Monsignor Paolo Jovio, being 
anxious to print some of his Dialogues, has begged 
us to help him in this laudable enterprise by giving 
him 70 reams of a kind of paper that is made in 
Mantua, as the messenger sent by him will explain. 
And we, who love Messer Paolo greatly for his 
excellent learning, would gladly do him this service. 
Accordingly we beg you to execute this commission 
for us, knowing how wiUingly you will take part in so 
honourable an undertaking, and ask you to see that 
the paper shall be given to his messenger. You 
can tell the papermakers that the cost of this paper 
will be defrayed as soon as I return to Mantua. 
If they make difficulties, give them 2 ducats a week, 
so that they may be completely satisfied, and our 
steward will provide the money. Messer Paolo asks 
to be allowed to bring this paper here from Mantua 
without payment of customs or any other tax, but I 
do not know if this can be managed, since all the 
taxes are already allotted.' Bologna, Nov. 21, 1529. 

Meanwhile, Isabella's devoted servant, Gian- 
francesco Valier, arrived from Venice with her son 
Ercole's friends, the poets Antonio Broccardo and 
Molza, who still addressed sonnets to the fair Camilla 
Gonzaga, now the wife of Count Alessandro di Porto 
of Vicenza, and Angelo Colocci, the beloved com- 
panion of Bembo's Roman days.^ Once more the 
Marchesa welcomed these old friends under her roof, 

^ V, Cian, Un Decefinio, &c., p. 148. 


and renewed the pleasant meetings and literary discus- 
sions which she had held in Rome, and sighed with 
them over the ruin of the Eternal City. 

But Isabella had graver cares than these to fill her 
time and thoughts. There were many important poli- 
tical questions to be settled by the Pope and Emperor 
in the private conferences which they held daily, and 
most of these concerned Isabella closely. Next in 
importance to the interests of her son Federico, were 
the affairs of Ferrara and Milan. There was the 
quarrel of her brother Alfonso with the Pope to be 
made up ; and, although this clever prince had lost 
no opportunity of paying court to the Emperor, and 
kept his table supplied with game and venison, 
Clement was still implacable, and would not allow 
the Duke to enter Bologna. And there was the 
pardon of her unfortunate nephew to be obtained 
from the Emperor, who had not forgiven Francesco 
Sforza for taking up arms against him, and threatened 
to deprive him of his State. The Pope, however, 
espoused this unlucky prince's cause warmly, and 
before many days a message was sent to the Duke 
of Milan desiring his presence at Bologna.^ 

Charles now proclaimed that he meant to restore 
peace to Italy, and invited all those who had griev- 
ances or complaints to come and obtain redress for 
their wrongs. First among those who responded to 
this invitation was the exiled Queen of Naples, Isa- 
bella del Balzo, the widow of Frederic II., and last 
representative of the proud line of Altamura. She 

^ Giordano, Delia venrtta e dimora in Bologna del Sommo Pont. 
Clemente VII. per la Coronazione di Carlo V., 1 5.^0. All the details 
of the ceremony here given are supplied in this writer's carefully- 
compiled chronicle. 


came from Ferrara, where she was hving in great 
poverty, and, throwing herself at the Emperor's feet, 
begged him to have pity upon her two daughters. 
Charles received the widowed Queen with the courtesy 
due to her rank and misfortunes, and not only com- 
forted her with promises of liberal help, but, before 
he left Italy, arranged a marriage between her elder 
daughter, the Infanta Giulia, and the Marquis Fede- 
rico Gonzaga. Every day now brought fresh arrivals, 
and the picturesque streets of Bologna were thronged 
with gay cavalcades. On the 13th of November, the 
Prince of Orange arrived from the camp before 
Florence, to inform the Emperor of the determined 
resistance which the Republic offered, and ask for 
orders how to proceed. With him came Ferrante 
Gonzaga, bent on business of his own.^ It was his 
intention to ask the Emperor for the hand of the 
great heiress, Isabella Colonna, whose father, Ves- 
pasiano, had died only two years after his marriage 
to GiuUa Gonzaga, leaving his only child betrothed 
to the Pope's kinsman, Ippolito dei Medici. But the 
intended bridegroom soon abandoned his suit, having 
fallen in love with his affianced wife's beautiful step- 
mother Giuha, and before long his elevation to the 
Cardinalate put an end to his matrimonial schemes. 
Ferrante felt that this was a good opportunity to 
secure the hand of the rich heiress, and relied on 
the Emperor's marked favour and his mother's 
influence to obtain his wish. But he was too late 
in the field. After Vespasiano Colonna's death in 
March 1528, the Orsini took advantage of the general 
confusion in Rome and ApuUa to seize his daughter's 
estates, and wage a desperate war against the Colonna 

1 Giordano, op, cit. 


followers. Upon this, the Pope sent Giulia Gon- 
zaga's own brother, Tjiiigi Rodomonte, the gallant 
young captain who had protected him in his 
flight to Orvieto, to the help of these distressed 
ladies. After a hard-fought campaign, this brave 
knight succeeded in defeating the foe and re- 
covering the castle of Palliano for the Colonnas. 
Antonia del Balzo's grandson was not only a man 
of great strength and stature, who could break ropes 
and horse-shoes in his hands, but a cultured and 
charming prince, a poet himself and the friend of 
poets. ^ The heiress promptly fell in love with this 
Paladin of romance who had come to her rescue, and, 
before the hero left Palliano, he was secretly married 
to Isabella Colonna. Fearing the Pope's anger, 
Giulia Gonzaga and her brother decided to keep the 
marriage secret, and Luigi returned to his post and 
marched against Florence with the Imperial army. 
But when he heard that his cousin Ferrante had 
asked for the hand of the heiress, he hastened to 
Bologna and produced his marriage contract as the 
best proof that Isabella was already his wife. After 
this there was nothing more to be said. The Pope 
and Emperor both declared the marriage to be valid, 
the hero received the congratulations of his friends, 
and, when the campaign against Florence was ended, 
he returned in triumph to Palliano and claimed his 
bride. Ferrante soon afterwards consoled himself 
with another wealthy Neapolitan heiress, Isabella of 
Capua, daughter of the Duca di Tremoli, whom he 
married in April 1531.^ 

On the 20th of November, the Marquis of 

^ AfF6, Fita di Luigi Rodomonte, pp. 45, &c. 

^ Litta, Famiglie, Tavola xiv. ; M. Sauuto, Diarii, liv. 385, 


Mantua himself entered Bologna with a splendid 
train of courtiers, and proceeded straight to the 
Palazzo Manzoli, where he was welcomed affection- 
ately by his mother. The Pope's household rode out 
to meet him, and the Emperor honoured Federico 
with marks of especial favour, and invited him 
to occupy rooms close to his own. Before long, 
Charles V. graciously informed the Marchesa of 
his intention to raise her son to the rank of Duke, 
and further intimated his wilUngness to visit her 
at JNIantua on his return to Germany. Isabella's 
highest ambition was thus gratified, and on the 15th 
of December, Federico left Bologna to make pre- 
parations for the fitting reception of his august 
guest. ^ 

Both Federico and his mother exerted all their 
influence with the Emperor on behalf of Fran- 
cesco Sforza. This prince had never recovered 
from the dangerous wound which he had received 
from the conspirator, Bonifazio Visconti, six years 
before. He could only travel in a litter, and when 
he reached Bologna on the 22nd of November, 
he was stiU so weak that he could not stand in the 
Emperor's presence. But Charles received him 
kindly, and it was noticed by the Duke's friends, 
as a good omen, that he spoke to him in Ger- 
man, a language which his enemy, Leyva, could 
not understand, and looked at Francesco with 
a smile, while the grim Spanish general stood 
sullenly by. After prolonged conferences, the Duke 
finally received the investiture of INIilan, on pay- 
ment of an enormous tribute, which his unhappy 
subjects, already ruined by war and famine, were 

* M. Sanuto, op. cit., lii. 376. 


utterly unable to raise, and T^eyva was granted the 
city of Pavia for his life. The Venetian envoy, 
Contarini, was next admitted to the Emperor's 
presence, and terms of peace between the Signoiy 
and the Pope were arranged. On Christmas Eve 
a treaty drawn up by the Imperial Chancellor, 
Cardinal Gattinara, was signed by the Pope, the 
Emperor, Venice, Milan, Mantua, Savoy, and Mon- 
ferrato. The Duke of Ferrara's name was inserted 
in the treaty by the Emperor's express wish, but 
the final settlement of his quarrel with the Pope 
was deferred to a future date. Only Florence was 
excluded from the League, and the unfortunate 
deputies who had been sent to plead her cause 
were not even allowed to enter the Emperor's pres- 

"Now indeed," exclaimed Cardinal Pucci, "we 
can sing the Gloria with the angels, since peace and 
goodwill are restored to men." 

The Emperor attended midnight mass in the 
papal chapel, and received the Sword with the Dove 
of the Holy Spirit which the Pope had blessed, and 
himself chanted the first words of the Gospel, " In 
that time an edict went forth from Augustus that 
all the world should be taxed." Isabella d'Este 
and all the illustrious guests who were by this time 
assembled in Bologna, were present at the solemn 
mass at San Petronio on Christmas Day, when the 
Pope was the celebrant, and gave the Emperor the 
kiss of peace. On the last day of the year, the 
papal bull proclaiming a general peace was pubUcly 
read from the steps of the Palazzo Pubblico, and 
a solemn Te Deum was chanted, after which the 
Duke of Milan and all the great feudatories of the 


Emperor and the Church, succeeded by the foreign 
ambassadors and princes, kissed the Pope's feet.^ 

On the 18th of January, the Emperor received 
a deputation from the University of Bologna, and 
conferred the title of Mother of Universities, together 
with many new privileges, on this ancient founda- 
tion. On the same day the poet, Girolamo di Casio, 
Isabella's old friend, received the laurel crown from 
the hands of the Emperor and the Pope. On the 
25th, a magnificent embassy of Venetian senators, 
clad in trailing robes of black velvet and gold togas, 
and wearing massive gold chains, amved in Bologna, 
and rode through the city followed by youths bearing 
large bowls filled with golden crowns which they pre- 
sented to the Emperor, who received them in great 
state seated on his throne in the Sala Grande. From 
Christmas till the end of the carnival, a series of ban- 
quets, jousts, masquerades, and balls were given 
by the Marchesa Isabella, Veronica Gambara, and 
other august persons. Charles himself was often 
present on these occasions, and spoke graciously to 
the illustrious guests, and won golden opinions by 
his courtesy to all the ladies present. 

Unfortunately these festive gatherings did not 
always tend to peace. As before at Milan, the 
Spanish and Italian cavaliers quarrelled over the 
bright eyes of Isabella's maids-of-honour, and more 
than once their revelries ended in bloodshed. The 
Spanish nobles were also very ready to quarrel 
with the German lords, and on the last day of 
the year, when peace was pubUcly proclaimed in 
San Petronio, Alfonso d'Avalos, the proud young 
Marchese del Vasto, caught sight of a simply clad 

^ Giordano, ap. cit. 


man standing near him and pushed him violently 
away. He was told to his surprise tliat this was a 
German prince, a brother of the Duke of Wiirtem- 
berg, upon which he declined to apologise, saying 
that a nobleman of his rank ought to know better 
than to appear at court in such mean attire.^ The 
haughty airs of these Castilian grandees and the 
readiness of their servants to take offence constantly 
led to brawls with the citizens of Bologna, while 
the German landsknechte plundered the shops, and 
one evening a troop of Lutheran soldiers threw 
down a statue of Pope Clement and burnt the 
head on their camp fire. But Charles V. and his 
chief captains did their utmost to restrain these 
excesses, and the Emperor himself set an ex- 
ample of courtesy and kindly toleration to all. His 
simple habits and refined tastes quickly won the 
hearts of the few Italian princes who were admitted 
to his intimacy. He generally devoted the morn- 
ings to private conferences with the Pope or his 
Chancellor, but spent the afternoons in visiting the 
oldest and most interesting churches in the city, and 
examining the frescoes and paintings with which they 
were adorned. As a rule, he took these expeditions 
on foot, clad in his plain suit and cap of black velvet, 
and attended only by a few courtiers. Sometimes 
he was accompanied by the Marquis of Mantua, and 
more often by his favourite, Alfonso d'Avalos, 
Marquis del Vasto, the cousin of Vittoria Colonna's 
dead husband. On fine days the Emperor would 
ride out to S. Michele in Bosco, or other points of 
interest in the neighbourhood, and admire the fine 
views from the hills round Bologna. 

1 Reumont, Rom., p. 246. 


At length all the preparations for the great 
ceremony of the double Coronation were complete, 
and on the 22nd of February, Charles V. received 
the iron crown, which had been sent from Monza by 
order of the Duke of Milan, from the Pope's hands. 
A Flemish Cardinal, Wilhelm Enckefort, the friend 
and companion of Adrian VI., who had paid 40,000 
crowns for his ransom in the sack of Rome, and still 
wore his beard long in sign of mourning, anointed 
the monarch, and administered the communion to 
him on this occasion, while the Spanish Grand 
Marshal Astorga bore the royal sceptre, and the 
Marquis of Monferrato presented the u'on crown to 
the Pope. That afternoon the Duke and Duchess 
of Urbino entered Bologna in state. Francesco 
Maria had led the armies of the League against the 
Emperor for several years, but as Captain-General 
of the Venetians and of the Church, he was now 
received with the highest honours. Both the 
Pope and Emperor sent their households to meet 
him, and all the illustrious visitors assembled to 
greet the Duke and Duchess. No General had made 
greater blunders or been more unfortunate in his 
campaigns. But on this occasion his martial air, 
and that of the captains who rode beside him, as 
well as the remarkable beauty of Leonora, excited 
general admiration. 

On the 23rd, the Emperor's brother-in-law, Charles, 
Duke of Savoy, arrived, as well as the King of Hun- 
gary's ambassador, the Bishop of Trent, accompanied 
by a suite of Hungarian nobles, whose blazing jewels 
and costumes of barbaric splendour attracted much 

1 Giordano, op. cit. 


The Feast of St. Matthias, being the Emperor's 
birthday and the anniversary of the victory of Pavia, 
had been chosen for the great function. The morn- 
ing broke clear and bright after a night of heavy rain, 
and all the bells in Bologna rang joyous peals from 
early dawn. One of the first to be up and stirring 
was Antonio de Leyva, who ordered his servants to 
carry him in a litter to the Piazza in front of San 
Petronio, and himself superintended the disposal of 
the Italian, Spanish, and German guards who were 
to line the streets. The artillery was drawn up in 
the square, and the guards at the city gate were 
doubled. A wooden bridge was erected between the 
Palazzo and the church, hung with sky-blue draperies 
and wreathed with garlands of flowers, of myrtle and 
laurel boughs, and a double file of tall Burgundian 
soldiers, the flower of the German army, guarded this 
gallery, along which the Pope and Emperor passed 
into San Petronio. First came the doctors of the 
University, in their fur collars and gold chains, and 
the rector in his purple robes. Then the archbishops 
and bishops, wearing their mitres and violet copes, 
and the cardinals in scarlet, preceding the Pope, who 
was borne on the Sedia gestatoria, hung with cloth 
of gold, by the Papal grooms in red liveries. His 
Holiness wore the triple tiara, and his golden cope 
was fastened by a marvellous jewel with a representa- 
tion of God the Father in glory, engraved by Ben- 
venuto Cellini, and containing the famous diamond 
worn by Charles the Bold at Nancy, and afterwards 
the property of Lodovico Sforza and Pope JuUus 11.^ 

Then a mighty flourish of trumpets announced 
the coming of Caesar. Before him came heralds 

1 B. Cellini, Trattato, p. 50. 


from all parts of his vast dominions, from Naples 
and Sicily, Austria and Burgundy, Spain and Navarre, 
and ambassadors from France, England, Scotland, 
Hungary, Bohemia, Poland, Portugal, and the dif- 
ferent states of Italy. Four great officers of state 
foUowed — the young Marquis of Monferrato clad in 
scarlet velvet robes trimmed with ermine, bore the royal 
sceptre ; Philip, Duke of Bavaria and Count Palatine, 
robed in purple, carried the orb of the world ; the Duke 
of Urbino, wearing crimson satin robes and peaked 
ermine cap, held the sword of state as Prefect of 
Rome. Last of all, the Duke of Savoy, as Vicar of 
the Empire, clad in a magnificent robe of purple, 
embroidered with gold and silver, and glittering with 
jewels, bore the Imperial diadem on a golden cushion. 
After these, escorted by a chosen suite of Spanish 
grandees and Neapolitan nobles, among whom the 
Grand Marshal Astorga and the Viceroy of Naples, 
Don Pedro de Toledo, were conspicuous, came the 
Emperor-elect, wearing a flowing mantle of gold 
brocade over his Imperial robes, and the iron crown 
of Lombardy on his head. The procession was 
delayed for some minutes by a violent quaiTel for 
precedence between the Genoese and Sienese ambas- 
sadors, who " from high words passed to blows and 
cuffs," and just as the Emperor set foot in the church, 
the wooden bridge collapsed with a sudden crash. 
Great alarm was excited, and many of the guards 
were badly shaken and bruised, but no serious injury 
was done, and Charles preserved the most complete 
presence of mind, " confident," writes Paolo Giovio, 
*' in his own good fortune." ^ 

Then the imposing ceremony began. All the 

^ Giordano, op. cit. 


elaborate ritual of mediccval days was fully oy)served. 
The Emperor took the oath of defender and protector 
of the Church on the Book of the Gospels, was conse- 
crated as a deacon, and received holy unction from 
Cardinal Farnese at the high altar, after which the 
Pope solemnly invested him with the Imperial in- 
signia. " Accipe gladium sanctum^' were the words 
pronounced when the sword was fastened to his side ; 
^^ Accipe virgam" and ^^ Accipe pomumr were said as 
the sceptre and orb were delivered into his hands ; 
and '^Accipe signum gloiice!'' when at length the 
golden diadem was placed upon his brow. The 
Emperor kissed the Pope's feet and took his seat on 
the throne, two steps lower than the Papal chair, 
while the heralds proclaimed in a loud voice : 
"Emperor of the Romans and Lord of the whole 
world." '" Romanorum Imperator semper augustus^ 
mundi totius Dominus, universis Dominis, universis 
Principibus et Populis semper venerandus.'' Then a 
great shout arose from the assembled multitude, 
" Vivat Carolus Imperator ! Evviva Carlo Cesare ! " 
The tumult of acclamations drowned the sound of 
the trumpets, and the noise of guns and bells told 
the crowds assembled in the streets and on the roofs, 
that the solemn act was completed, and that a Roman 
Emperor had once more received the crown from the 
hands of the Vicar of Christ. 

The newly-crowned Csesar received communion 
devoutly, and, after shaking hands with the Pope, 
held the stu-rup while His Holiness mounted his grey 
Barbary horse at the foot of the steps leading down 
to the Piazza. Then Charles in his turn mounted 
the white charger, superbly draped with pearl brocade, 
which was led up by Prince Doria and the Duke 


of Urbino, and rode at the Pope's side under a 
baldacchino, supported by the chief doctors and 
nobles of Bologna. So the great procession wound 
slowly through the gaily-decorated streets, while from 
roofs, windows, and balconies rang the same mighty 
cry: "^ Viva Carlo V.! Imperator gloriosissinius f' 

On his return to the Palace, Charles retired for a 
brief interval of sorely needed rest after the fatigue 
of the long ceremony, and then sat down to the 
banquet prepared in the Sala Grande. According to 
ancient custom, the Emperor sat alone at the high 
table, while the chief cardinals and princes who had 
taken part in the ceremony were immediately below, 
and sixty other illustrious guests were entertained in 
the adjoining hall. At the end of the banquet, 
Charles drank to the Pope's health, and Cardinal 
Ippolito dei Medici, in the name of His Holiness, 
toasted the Empress and her infant son, the Prince 
of Spain. Afterwards the Emperor received the con- 
gratulations of his courtiers, while his chamberlains 
flung gilded and coloured confetti to the crowds on 
the brilliantly - illuminated Piazza below. Several 
ItaHan princes of high rank and station were, it was 
remarked, absent from the ceremony. The Duke of 
Milan was too ill to bear the fatigue ; Prince Ferrante 
of Salerno was affronted that, although a kinsman of 
the Emperor, he had not been chosen to take part 
in the ceremony ; and Federico Gonzaga excused 
himself from being present because he was making 
preparations to receive the Emperor at Mantua. 

On the 26th, an ox was roasted on the Piazza, and 
the soldiers on duty were feasted at the expense 
of the city of Bologna. On Sunday the 27th, the 
Emperor attended high mass in state at S. Giovanni 


del Monte, and afterwards carefully examined Raph- 
ael's St. Cecilia and the fine altar-pieces by Francia, 
Costa, and Perugino, with which this church was then 
adorned. The same evening he invited twenty great 
ladies, among whom were Isabella d'Este, her daughter 
Leonora, and Veronica Gambara, to a dance in his 
rooms, and sent them all costly presents on the 
following morning. During the last days of carnival 
a series of brilliant fetes, masques, comedies, and balls 
were held. But the citizens of Bologna could no 
longer endure the daily insults which they received 
from the Spanish soldiers, and Count Pepoli, deter- 
mined to put an end to their insolence, took upon 
himself to punish some of the most notorious offen- 
ders. A serious tumult followed, in which many 
lives were lost, and Antonio de Leyva complained 
angrily to the Pope of the affronts offered by his 
subjects to the Imperial guards. Fortunately, 
Charles intervened, and wisely ordered the Spanish 
troops to leave the town and encamp outside the 

On the 4th of March, the octave of the Corona- 
tion, the Emperor entertained all the princes and 
prelates at a grand banquet, and at five o'clock that 
evening rode out, attended by several of his chief 
guests, to meet his sister-in-law, Beatrice of Portugal, 
Duchess of Savoy. The arrival of this princess, 
whose beauty and charm made her a great favourite 
with the Emperor, created a marked sensation. She 
rode a white horse, draped with gold brocade, wear- 
ing a robe of mulberry-coloured satin, trimmed with 
gold fringe, a black velvet cap with drooping white 
plumes, and a pearl necklace hanging down to her 
waist, while her hair was caught up by a jewelled 


fillet. In her train came eighteen fair maids-of- 
honour, riding white horses and wearing the same 
black velvet caps and white feathers, and thirty 
mules, with scarlet trappings, led by pages in red 
liveries. The Venetian envoys were profoundly im- 
pressed both by the loveliness of the young Duchess 
and by the courtesy and gallantry of the Em- 
peror, who himself escorted his sister-in-law to her 

At the same time they were much struck by 
the small stature and ungainly appearance of her 
husband, Duke Charles of Savoy. " She is tall and 
very beautiful, and appears to be about twenty-two 
years of age ; he is small and ugly, and nearer fifty 
than forty." ^ 

The Duchess took up her abode in the Palazzo 
Pepoli, close to Isabella d'Este's quarters, and during 
the next fortnight her rooms became the meeting- 
place of all the chief personages in Bologna. Charles 
V. paid his charming sister-in-law frequent visits, 
and at his request she repeatedly invited the Duke 
and Duchess of Urbino to meet him. Leonora's 
majestic beauty made a great impression on the 
Emperor, and he visited her in the Palazzo Rossi 
and held long conferences with Francesco Maria, 
whose opinion on military matters he valued highly 
in spite of his ill-success in the recent campaign. 
Before leaving Bologna he offered the Duke the 
chief command of the Imperial armies ; but Francesco 
Maria declined the honour, saying that he was 
pledged to the service of the Venetian Signory, who 
courteously told the Emperor that they were unable 
to spare him. Last of aU, after dark, on the night of 

1 M. Sanuto, Diaiii, liii. 45. 


the 7th of March, the Duke of Ferrara arrived in 
Bologna. The Pope had reluctantly consented to 
give him a safe- conduct, at the urgent request of the 
Emperor, who on his part welcomed Alfonso warmly, 
and invited him to assist that evening at the per- 
formance of a comedy composed by a Lucchese poet. 
During the next fortnight Charles V. succeeded in 
effecting a reconciliation between the Pope and the 
Duke, by which Alfonso was allowed to retain 
Modena and Reggio, on payment of large sums of 
money both to the Emperor and the Church. Charles 
appears to have found Alfonso a very pleasant com- 
panion, and afterwards declared that the Duke of 
Ferrara was the wisest and wittiest prince in Italy. 
They often rode out together, and one day Charles 
took the Duke to visit the shop of Fra Damiano 
da Bergamo, the celebrated worker in intarsiatura. 
" Who is there ? " asked the friar when the Emperor 
knocked at the door. " Charles of Austria," was the 
reply, upon which Fra Damiano opened the door 
promptly, but closed it again as quickly, on seeing 
the Emperor's companion. Charles asked him with a 
smile why he refused to admit the Duke of Ferrara. 
" Because," replied the artist, " His Excellency makes 
me pay such exorbitant tolls on the iron carving tools 
which I buy at Ferrara." Both Emperor and Duke 
greeted this reply with laughter, and when Alfonso 
had seen Fra Damiano's work, he promised to let 
him have his tools free of customs in future, and 
was presented with a fine intarsia by the grateful 

After this Isabella d'Este had every reason to be 
satisfied with the result of the conferences at Bologna. 
Her brother and nephew had made their peace with 


the Pope and Emperor, her daughter and son-in-law 
had received the highest honours from Charles V., 
and now the Emperor was about to bestow a last and 
crowning mark of his favour upon her eldest son. 
On the 17th of March the Duchess of Savoy gave a 
brilliant fete at the Palazzo PepoU, to which the Mar- 
chesa Isabella, the Dukes of Ferrara and IVIilan, and 
the Duke and Duchess of Urbino were all invited. 
The Emperor was present during two hours, and 
conversed pleasantly with some of the ladies in one 
saloon, while music and dancing went on in the 
other rooms. But after his departure, the Savoyard 
courtiers, resenting the insolence of some of the 
Spanish nobles who took hberties with the Duchess's 
lovely maids-of-honour, drew their swords, and three 
Spaniards were killed and seven of the Bolognese 
servants wounded. According to some accounts^ 
Isabella d'Este's ladies were mixed up in this quarrel. 
Giordano says that no less than eighteen Spaniards 
were slain in the riot, and that, so much annoyed was 
the Marchesa by these scandals, that she left Bologna 
the next day.^ On the other hand, Signor Renier 
declares this to be an exaggeration, and says that the 
true cause of Isabella's hurried departure for INlantua, 
was the need she felt of rest and change of air after 
the fatigues of these prolonged festivities. But, in 
any case, she left Bologna on the 21st of March, after 
taking the most cordial farewell of His Imperial 
Majesty, and receiving the Papal benediction for her- 
self and her whole family.^ 

The Duke of Milan, who had also made a very 

^ Renier, Italia^ p. l6. 

2 Giordano, op. ciL, and D'Arco in Arch. St., App, ii. 
^ Fontana, Rente de France, p. 66. 


favourable impression on Charles V. and greatly 
improved his position, took his leave at the same 
time with the Duke and Duchess of Savoy ; while 
the Duke of Ferrara hastened to Modena to receive 
the Emperor on his way to Mantua. 



Charles V. at Maihtua — The Marquis Federico created Duke, and 
betrothed to the Infanta Giulia — Capture of Florence by 
Ferrante Gonzaga — Isabella goes to Venice — Titian employed 
by the Duke to paint a Magdalen for Vittoria Colonna — 
Death of Bonifazio, Marquis of Monferrato — Federico breaks 
off his contract with Donna Giulia, and asks for the hand 
of Maria di Monferrato — Death of this Princess — Federico 
asks for her sister Margherita's hand — Goes to Casale for the 
wedding — Giulio Romano adds new rooms to the Castello — 
Isabella superintends their decoration, and receives the bride. 

On the Feast of the Annunciation — the 25th of 
March — the Emperor entered Mantua in state. He 
was sumptuously clad in gold and silver brocade, and 
wore the sword and cap of Empire with which he 
had been invested at Bologna. At his side rode the 
Papal legates, Cardinals Cibo and IppoUto dei Medici, 
and immediately behind was the Duke of FeiTara, 
who had escorted him on his journey from Modena. 
Federico Gonzaga rode out to receive his illustrious 
guest as far as the Porta Pradella, accompanied by 
the Marchese del Vasto, who had been at Mantua 
for some days, and all his own valiant kinsmen. 
Fifty noble youths, clad in white, and bearing long 
silver staves in their hands, carried a white satin 
baldacchino over the Emperor's head as he rode 
through the crowded streets, under a series of 
triumphal arches designed by Giuho Romano.^ 

1 M. Sanuto, liii. 80-108. 



The utmost ingenuity had been expended on these 
decorations. Each arch was adorned with groups 
of gods and goddesses, and inscribed with Greek 
and Latin verses. Mars and Venus, Mercury and 
Pallas, saluted Caesar in the words of Virgil and in 
the name of Mantua. On the Piazza di San Pietro 
a colossal Victory held a crown of laurel over the 
Emperor's head. The procession paused at the 
gates of the Duomo, and Charles entered the 
church to receive the Bishop's benediction, after 
which he crossed the Piazza to the Castello gates, 
where the Marchesa Isabella was waiting at the 
foot of the grand staircase to welcome him to the 
ancestral palace of the Gonzagas.^ 

Here Charles spent the next four weeks, enjoying 
a brief respite from public business and State func- 
tions. He accompanied the Marquis on a series of 
hunting parties, which had been planned on a 
splendid scale. On Sunday the 27th, as many as 
5000 riders joined in the sport, and 1000 guests 
were entertained at a banquet at Marmirolo, that 
superb palace on which GiuHo Romano had lavished 
all the treasures of his luxuriant fancy. After 
dinner the Emperor joined in a game of palla, and 
slew a wild boar with his own hand in the hunt 
that followed. But the same day His Majesty 
nearly met with a serious accident. He was pur- 
suing a wounded stag, when his horse came into 
violent collision with that of the young Cardinal 
Ippolito. Both riders were thrown to the ground, 
and Ippolito dei Medici received a severe blow ; 
** so that," as the Venetian, Marco Antonio Venier, 
wrote, "one stag, in seeking to avoid death, almost 

^ G. Daino, Cronaca, in Arch. St., App. ii. p. 232. 


caused the death of an Emperor and a Cardinal." 
Fortunately, no serious harm was done, and 
Charles V. expressed the greatest delight with his 
day's sport. During the next fortnight he visited 
the palaces and villas of the Gonzagas, and en- 
joyed the refined luxury and high culture of an 
Italian court. He saw the treasures of Isabella's 
Grotta, the famous armoury in the Corte Vecchia, 
the triumphs of Mantegna in the palace of S. Sebas- 
tiano, and the wonderful frescoes of the story of 
Psyche, which Giulio Romano had painted in Fede- 
rico's new Palazzo del T^. But, more than any of 
these, he admired the portraits and Holy Families 
painted by Titian, the great Venetian master, who 
was to become his chosen artist in days to come. 

It was a proud hour in Isabella's life, and she 
did the honours of her son's house and entertained 
her august guest with all her wonted grace. But 
her proudest moment was on the 8th of April, 
when, after signing the deed creating the marquisate 
of Mantua into a duchy, by virtue of his Imperial 
authority, and sealing it with a gold seal, the Em- 
peror pubUcly proclaimed Federico Duke of Mantua 
from the steps of S. Pietro, in the presence of a 
large and enthusiastic assembly.^ On the same spot, 
a hundred years before, another Roman emperor, 
Sigismund, had proclaimed the present Duke's an- 
cestor, Giovanni Francesco, first Marquis of Mantua. 
Many, indeed, had been the perils and troubles 
through which the little State had passed, and 
great was the glory and prosperity to which 
the noble house of Gonzaga had attained. This, 
Isabella felt, was the crowning triumph of her long 
* G. Daino, op. ciL, p. 232. 


life, the reward of her unwearied labours and pas- 
sionate devotion to her family and country. 

On the following morning, the betrothal of the new 
Duke of Mantua with his cousin, the Infanta Giulia 
of Aragon, was solemnised in the presence of Caesar. 
The Imperial Chancellor, Cardinal Gattinara, placed 
the ring on the bridegroom's hand, and blessed 
another ring, which the Duke of Ferrara was charged 
to deliver to the princess. Alfonso took leave of 
the Emperor the next morning, and on Holy Thurs- 
day Charles V. retired to the Convent of S. Bene- 
detto, a few miles out of the town, and spent the 
next three days in devout exercises. On Tuesday 
in Easter week, the 19th of April, he finally left 
Mantua, and was escorted by his host as far as 
Goito, on his way to Trent.^ The Imperial visit 
had passed oiF in the most successful manner, and 
Isabella could look back with complete satisfaction 
on these splendid and memorable days. Fortunately 
she did not know that these events, in which she 
saw the fulfilment of her fondest hopes, were in 
reality downward steps in the history of Mantua 
and of Italy, and that the Spanish rule would prove 
ere long the ruin of all that made life good and 
beautiful in her eyes. Four months after Charles V. 
left Mantua, the city of Florence surrendered to 
Ferrante Gonzaga, who had succeeded to the com- 
mand of the Imperial armies on the death of the 
Prince of Orange, and the last bulwark of Itahan 
independence was swept away. 

In May, Isabella went to Venice, and spent 
several weeks there, enjoying change of air and rest. 
After all the expenses of the fetes at Bologna and 

^ M. Sanuto, liii. 154. 


Mantua, the Marchesa found herself very short of 
money, and when, in June, she wished to make 
some purchases before leaving Venice, she was com- 
pelled to write in great haste to her treasurer, Paolo 
Andreassi, begging him to send her 100 ducats on 
the spot. Here she saw Titian, who was engaged 
on several works for the Duke, and went to Bologna 
at his request in July, to paint the portrait of a 
fair lady whose bright eyes had captivated the 
Emperor's secretary, Covos. On the 19th of June 
Isabella returned to Mantua, and soon afterwards 
recei"Med a letter from the painter, expressing his 
regret that he had been unable to pay her a fare- 
well visit before she left Venice, and saying that 
he had almost finished the little "travelling" pic- 
ture which she had ordered. At the same time, he 
begged the Marchesa to use her influence with the 
Duke on behalf of his son Pomponio, for whom 
he was anxious to obtain the benefice of Medola.^ 
This request was readily granted by Federico, and 
the promise of this rich benefice proved a sensible 
consolation in the loss which Titian suffered by the 
sudden death of his wife Cecilia. " Messer Tiziano," 
wrote the Mantua envoy, Benedetto Agnello, on the 
4th of October, " is recovering his spirits, and hopes 
soon to come to Mantua." Whether he visited 
Mantua or not that autumn, he certainly executed 
several commissions for the Duke during the winter. 
One of these, in which Isabella took especial in- 
terest, was a Magdalen, which Federico intended as a 
gift to Vittoria Colonna, Marchesa di Pescara. On the 
11th of March, the Duke wrote the following letter 
to this accompUshed lady, for whom he and all his 

1 Crowe e Cavalcaselle, Titian, i. 343. 


fiimily entertained so true a regard : " I hear from 
Signer Fabrizio Maramaldo that you desire to have a 
beautiful picture of S. Maiy Magdalen by the hand of 
an excellent painter. I sent to Venice at once, and 
wrote to Titian, who is perhaps the best master now 
living, and is altogether devoted to me, begging him 
earnestly to make a picture of this saint, as beautiful 
and tearful as possible, and to let me have it directly."^ 
Titian, in his anxiety to gratify this generous patron, 
put all his other work aside to begin the new picture, 
which was already well advanced by the 22nd of 
March, and seemed, in Agnello's opinion, to be a 
work of the highest excellence. On the 19th, Isabella 
wrote to Agnello, saying how glad she and her son 
were to hear that M. Tiziano had begun the Magda- 
len, adding, that the sooner it arrived, the better they 
would be pleased. Again, on the 8th of April, she 
wrote to the envoy : " We hear from the Castellano, 
Gian Giacomo Calandra, that the picture of the 
Magdalen which Titian is painting is nearly finished. 
We are delighted to hear this, and beg you to thank 
M. Tiziano for the pains and promptitude with which 
he has served us, although we know that he could 
not well do otherwise. And since we desire to have 
the picture immediately, we send a courier to Venice 
forthwith, in order that he may bring it back with 
him. Please have the canvas carefully packed and 
covered up, so that it cannot suffer injury, with the 
lightest material you can find, in order that he may 
caiTy it with him ; and make all the necessary 
arrangements to prevent any delay at the custom- 
house, and that he may be allowed to bring it free 

of charge."^ 

^ Crowe e Cavalcaselle, op. cit., i. App. 
2 Gaye, Carteggioj ii. 225. 


The picture was ready, but had to be kept two 
days longer to allow the varnish to dry. On the 14th 
of April it was finally despatched to Mantua with a 
letter from the painter, saying that he had put his 
whole strength into the work. " If only my hand 
and brush," he adds, " had agreed with the greatness 
of my dream, the result would have satisfied me 
better ; but this, alas ! has not been the case by a 
long way, and a great space still remains between 
my aspiration and my achievement. The Magdalen 
herself has promised to beg your forgiveness with 
hands folded on her breast." ^ 

Both the Duke and his mother were, however, 
dehghted with the picture, and Federico wrote in 
glowing terms to thank the painter. 

" M. Tiziano, — I have received the picture of the 
Magdalen, which you have painted for us, and which 
I quite expected to be a beautiful thing, knowing 
that nothing else could proceed from your hand, 
because of your excellence in painting, and all the 
more, because you were doing the work for me, whom 
I know you like to please. But I find it far more 
perfect and beautiful than I ever expected, and, truly, 
of all the pictures which I have ever seen, I do not 
remember one which seems to me more beautiful. 
I am indeed more than satisfied. And Madama Illus- 
trissima, my mother, says the same, pronouncing it 
to be a most admirable work, and confessing that it 
is equal to the finest pictures of the kind which she has 
seen and enjoyed. And these, as you know, are very 
many. Every one who sees it says the same, and the 
best judges of painting praise it the most. Thus I 
recognise that in this magnificent work you have 

^ GayCj op. ciU, ii. 226. 


tried to express at once the love which you cherish 
for me and your own rare excellence. These two 
things have enabled you to produce this incom- 
parable figure, which is so beautiful that it is im- 
possible to desire anything finer. I cannot say how 
grateful I feel, and can only assure you that I shall 
never forget this and all the other pleasure which you 
have given me, and shall ever remain at your ser- 
vice." ^ Mantua, April 19, 1531. 

The Magdalen was forwarded, without delay, to 
Vittoria Colonna, who expressed the warmest grati- 
tude for the priceless gift, and sent the Duke an 
exquisitely- wrought casket filled with rare perfumes 
and cosmetic of roses. In his letter of thanks 
Federico replied that he would not fail to tell Titian 
how much Vittoria admired his picture, since this 
would doubtless incite him to fresh efforts, and if 
his art should attain a new perfection in the future, 
it would be her doing.^ Isabella and all her children, 
more especially Leonora and Ercole, were deeply 
attached to Vittoria Colonna ; but, in this instance, 
the Duke and his mother had a further motive for 
their anxiety to gratify her. It was, they felt, of 
the utmost importance to secure the goodwill of her 
nephew, the all-powerful Alfonso d'Avalos, in certain 
delicate matters regarding Federico's marriage. 

Before the Emperor left Mantua the betrothal of 
Federico with the Infanta Giulia had been formally 
announced. Charles V. promised the bride a dowiy 
of 50,000 ducats, and the marriage contract was 
drawn up, to the great delight of the widowed Queen 
of Naples. In the weekly letters which Isabella re- 

^ Gaye, op. cit., p. 224. 

' Luzio, Eivista Mantovana, i. 3—8. 


ceived from Ferrara, we find frequent allusions to her 
future daughter-in-law, who now bore the title of 
Duchess of Mantua. The novelist Stabellino, writing 
to the Marchesa on the 22nd of May, describing a 
fete given by Renee de France in the beautiful hall 
of the Schifanoia Palace, remarks : " The Duchess 
danced hand in hand with the daughters of the Queen 
of Naples, and Don Ercole with INIadame de Soubise's 
daughter. Then Don Francesco d'Este led out the 
Infanta GiuHa, and many others followed dancing, 
and talking sweetly of love." The usual minute 
particulars of the princess's dress and appearance 
follow.^ But greatly as Isabella desired her son's 
maiTiage, she does not appear to have felt much 
satisfaction with the bride whom the Emperor had 
chosen. The Infanta was considerably over thirty 
years of age, and the Marchesa may well have felt 
some misgivings with regard to the marriage, 
especially while the Duke's mistress, Isabella Bos- 
chetti, still retained her old empire over him. 

Suddenly an unexpected event altered the whole 
aspect of affairs. The young Marquis of Monferrato, 
who had so lately played an important part in the 
imperial Coronation, was killed by a fall from his 
horse when he was out hunting, one day in June. 
He was succeeded by his uncle. Bishop Giovanni 
Giorgio, an elderly and infirm prince, who was in 
deacon's orders. Since he had never married, and 
was likely to remain childless, his elder niece, Maria 
Paleologa, the very princess who had formerly been 
affianced to Federico Gonzaga, now became iieiress 
to the rich principality of Monferrato. Both Isabella 
d'Este and the widowed Marchesa of Monferrato had 

1 Fontana, Renee de France, p. 144. 


always wished for this marriage, and now the Duke 
himself was equally anxious to obtain the hand of the 
bride whom he had once rejected. He lost no time 
in renewing his suit, and sent envoys to the Emperor 
and the Pope begging to be released from his en- 
gagement to the Infanta, on the ground of a previous 
contract, and the scruples which he felt with regard to 
marriage with a first cousin. A conference was held 
at Mantua, in which the chief lawyers and ecclesiastics 
of the State unanimously gave their opinion in favour 
of the vaUdity of the first contract, and the Duke's 
subjects presented him with a petition, begging him 
to repudiate the Infanta and marry Maria Paleologa, 
who, being younger, would be more likely to bear 
him an heir. In the midst of these negotiations the 
poor young princess Maria died after a few days' 
illness on the 25th of September 1530. The Duke 
at once proclaimed a general mourning for his wife, 
and promptly asked the Marchesa di Monferrato for 
the hand of her only surviving daughter, Margherita. 
This princess, who had just entered her twentieth 
year, now found herself courted by the most exalted 
personages. The Emperor pressed the suit of the 
Count Palatine, the King of France tried to secure 
the hand of the heiress for his second son, while the 
Marchesa di Monferrato herself was anxious to marry 
her daughter to the Duke of Milan. But as usual 
the Gonzagas triumphed, and Isabella had her way. 
The Pope was induced to annul the contract with 
the Infanta in March 1531, and although Charles V. 
still tried to persuade Federico to fulfil his pledges 
and take Giulia of Aragon for his bride, he at length 
recognised further opposition to be useless, and gave 
his consent to the Duke's marriage with Margherita 


Paleologa. On the 26th of July the contract was 
finally signed at Casale, and congratulations flowed in 
from all sides. 

Bernardo Tasso composed an Epithalamium in 
honour of the happy event, Vittoria Colonna sent 
the most cordial good wishes, with two of her latest 
sonnets from the island of Ischia, and Paolo Giovio 
wrote from Rome that this illustrious lady was so 
genuinely attached to the Duke, that she could not 
wish her own Marchese del Vasto greater joy and 
good fortune.^ 

Titian received a letter from Federico himself 
informing him of his marriage, and wrote on the 
31st of July, to congratulate his noble patron in the 
warmest terms : " My dear Lord, — I cannot express, 
either by words or writing, how great was my 
delight on receiving the letter which you were so 
kind and gracious as to send me, and which con- 
firmed and explained what I had already heard of 
Your Excellency's most happy marriage. This news 
has filled me with the most unbounded joy, so that 
I can hardly contain myself. And I pray that 
our Lord God may keep you, and give you all 
prosperity, and fulfil all your desires for infinite 
years to come."^ The Duke in his letter informed 
Titian that the benefice of Medola and its revenues 
had been formally granted to his son, a fact which 
added not a little to the painter's satisfaction. 

This time Federico was determined that no 
unnecessary delay should hinder his marriage, and 
he prevailed on the Marchesa di Monferrato to 
allow the wedding to take place early in October. 

^ Luzio in Rivista Mantovana, i. 3-8. 
2 Crowe e Cavalcaselle, Titian, i. App. 


Early in the last week of September, he set out 
from Mantua, with a brilliant suite, which included 
his kinsmen, the ambassador Francesco Gonzaga, 
I'Abate Lodovico, and his younger son, Gianfraneesco 
Cagnino, the Count of Caiazzo, who had married a 
daughter of Pirro Gonzaga, and his favourite, Count 
Nicola MafFei, as well as the papal legate and im- 
perial ambassador. The party travelled by road 
to Pa via, where they spent Sunday night in the 
bishop's palace, and were met by two envoys from 
Casale. On ]\Ionday morning, after hearing mass, 
the Duke went out on a hunting expedition with 
Count Maximihan Stampa, and spent the night 
at Vigevano with his cousin, the Duke of Milan. 
"This illustrious Duke," wrote the secretary who 
sent Isabella a full account of her son's wedding 
journey, "rode out with all his court to meet our 
Signor, and received him in the most kind and 
honourable manner. Indeed, as long as we were 
in the dominions of the Lord Duke, we were ex- 
ceedingly well treated, and could not have been 
more royally entertained."^ Francesco now an- 
nounced his intention of accompanying his cousin 
to Casale for the wedding, and on Tuesday, after 
another hunting expedition, the two princes, ac- 
companied by the redoubtable Antonio de Leyva 
and twenty-five Milanese nobles, reached Casale. 
The old Marquis of Monferrato received the bride- 
groom outside the city gates, and Federico entered 
the tovim on horseback between his host and the 
Duke of Milan, attended by an escort of a thousand 
men. As soon as he reached the CasteUo, he was 
conducted into the presence of the Marchesa, who 

^ M. Sanuto, Diarii, Iv. 38. 


was ill in bed. " And so great was the crowd," 
writes the Mantuan secretary, "at the doors of her 
bedroom, that I, who had gone in with my Signor, 
found it quite impossible to get out again." A 
magnificent suite of apartments, the first hung 
with gold brocade and green velvet, the second 
with silver brocade, tan-coloured velvet and tur- 
quoise satin, and the third with gold and silver 
brocade, had been prepared for the Duke of 
Mantua, close to the Princess Margherita's rooms. 
Federico, however, insisted that his cousin, the 
Duke of JNIilan, must occupy these apartments, 
and the door which led into the bride's chamber 
was hastily sealed up. But Francesco, not to be 
outdone in courtesy, quite refused to occupy the 
bridegroom's rooms, declaring that he had come to 
the wedding uninvited, simply out of affection for 
his cousin. 

The wedding took place that same evening in 
the Marchesa's bedroom. Antonio de Leyva was 
carried in by his servants, and quickly followed 
by the bridegroom, who had changed his riding 
boots and dusty travelling dress for a splendid suit 
of gold brocade. Federico was supported by the 
Duke of Milan and attended by as many of the 
nobles and courtiers as the little room could hold. 
As soon as the Marchesa saw him she held out her 
arms, and with tears in her eyes embraced him. 
*' Your Excellency," wrote Isabella's correspondent, 
" may imagine how tenderly she kissed him." Then 
the bride entered, clad in white satin embroidered 
with silver, with a high collar and sleeves sown with 
pearls, a jewelled girdle round her waist, and a white 
satin cap studded with diamonds. The Bishop of 


Vercelli spoke a few words, and the noise was so 
great that only those who stood near him could 
hear a word. " So my lord wedded lier with great 
rejoicing, and when every one had done kissing the 
Lady Duchess's hand, we all went to supper. After 
this Madama herself left her bed to accompany 
the bridal pair to their rooms, and gave them her 
blessing with such loving words that all who heard 
her wept for gladness. God grant that they may 
both enjoy the happiness which we hope and de- 
sire for them, since the bride is beautiful, gracious, 
kind, wise, and virtuous, and I am quite certain that 
Your Excellency will be delighted with her. This 
morning the Magnifico Francesco Gonzaga took 
the bride my lord's gift of jewels . . . and to-day 
there is a festa in the Castello, and all the ladies 
of Casale are coming. As soon as he was dressed 
this morning, my lord went to see Madama illus- 
trissima, and again after dinner and before supper, 
and they are all very gay. And I only regret," 
adds the secretary, "that I cannot better tell Your 
Excellency the things of which it is my duty to 
inform you." ^ 

Meanwhile Isabella once more administered the 
State in her son's absence, and superintended 
the final preparations for his bride's reception. 
Throughout the summer Giulio Romano and a host 
of builders, artists, and decorators had been working 
at the Castello, where the Duke had decided to 
take up his abode. A new suite of rooms, known 
as the Palazzina, was built for the use of the 
Duchess, to the right of the drawbridge leading to 
the Ponte S. Giorgio. These apartments were con- 

^ M. Sanuto, op. cit., p. 41. 


nected with Isabella's old rooms near the Camera 
degli Sposi by a comdor, and the roof was adorned 
with a terraced garden and open loggia overlooking 
the lake. On the 7th of October, Ippolito Calandra 
wrote to tell the Duke of a visit which his mother 
had paid to the new building, and of the great 
satisfaction which she had expressed. "Yesterday 
Madama illustrissima came to the Castello, and 
wished to see everything. She was much pleased, 
and went out on the new terrace, which dehghted 
her as much as possible, and stayed there for more 
than an hour, expressing the greatest admiration 
for the magnificent view. ' If in my time,' she 
exclaimed, ' there had ever been such a fine terrace, 
I should never have complained of having had 
to live in the Castello I ' Her Excellency visited 
the garden and loggietta, which she praised greatly 
as a thing excellently contrived and admirably de- 
signed. She then wished to go down into the 
rooms, but had not courage to descend by the 
wooden steps, although a railing had been put up 
for protection, so Isabella and Madonna Paola went 
down with the maidens, and Isabella afterwards told 
Madama exactly how the rooms were aiTanged. All 
this pleased her exceedingly, and she said that Your 
Excellency could not have made a better or more 
convenient addition to the Castello." A few days 
afterwards, Ippolito wrote to tell the Duke that 
the Marchesa had visited the new rooms again, to 
arrange the hangings and furniture, and had in- 
spected the rooms prepared for the Duchess's ladies, 
and the new court looking over the bridge. *' Once 
more she expressed the greatest satisfaction, and 
laughed as she said to me ; ' Ah ! Ippolito, if in my 



time I and my ladies had ever enjoyed such lodgings 
as these, we should indeed have thought ourselves 
fortunate I '" ' 

On receiving his mother's report, Federico wrote 
from Casale, saying that a covered passage must be 
made from the old Studio to the new rooms, as he 
objected to the wooden staircase, and further ordered 
a stone flight of steps to be constructed leading up 
to the terrace and hanging gardens on the roof. By 
Giulio Romano's advice, the walls of the new rooms 
were not painted, but only enamelled in white and 
adorned with pictures, while the doors and mantel- 
pieces were hung with Spanish leather. *' By this 
means," wrote the master, " the rooms will be ready 
when Your Excellency arrives, and Her Highness 
the Duchess can enjoy them this winter, because they 
really look very well, and when the fine season comes 
they can be painted."^ Messer Giulio and Isabella 
devoted great pains to the choice of the pictures with 
which the new rooms were to be hung. On the 14th, 
Giulio wrote that the windows were all filled with 
glass and the paintings hung on the walls in fine 
gilded frames. A fortnight later, Ippolito Calandra 
sent his lord a list of the masterpieces which had 
been selected, with Madama's help, to adorn the 
new hall or Camera delle Arme, as it was called 
from the armorial bearings of Francesco and Isa- 
bella, and of Federico and his wife, which were 
painted on the walls. 

" The pictures in this hall," writes the chamberlain 
in a memorable passage,^ " are Messer Giulio 's portrait 

1 S. Davari, Arch. St. Lomh., 1895. 

2 Gaye, Carteggio, ii. 228. 

2 Pungileoni, Elogio di Raffaelle, p. 182 ; Luzio, Arch. d. Arte, 
L 181. 


of Your Excellency, that of Pope Leo by Raphael, 
which was given you by His Holiness Clement 
VII,, the portrait of Your Excellency by Messer 
Tiziano, and the one which Raphael of Urbino 
painted in Rome of Your Excellency, as weU as 
that picture, which was given you by a Venetian, of 
a Lady and her child, and was so much praised by 
Messer Giulio, and the splendid St. Jerome in oils 
that was painted in Flanders and bought by Your 
Excellency. All the pictures are in gilded frames 
and look very beautiful. In the Camerino of the 
Duchess we might perhaps have six pictures — Man- 
tegna's Crista in Scurto, Messer Tiziano's St. Jerome, 
M. Giulio's Santo Caterina, and the Leonardo da 
' Vinci that was given you by Conte Nicola. These 
would make a fine show in the room." 

These few lines have been frequently quoted, and 
throw considerable light on the famous pictures that 
were in the Gonzaga collection during Isabella's life- 
time. The portrait of Pope Leo X. and his two 
Cardinals had, as we have already said, been pre- 
sented to Federico Gonzaga by Pope Clement VII. 
in 1525, and was not the original by Raphael, but a 
copy by Andrea del Sarto.^ The portrait of Federico 
in armour, by Titian, was the noble work which the 
Venetian master had painted in the spring of 1530, 
and which excited the admiration of Charles V. 
more than any other picture that he saw at 
Mantua. Unfortunately this portrait, which, in 
Vasari's words, " seemed the life itself," ^ and 
which was valued at 150 ducats in the inventory 
of 1627, disappeared in the sack of Mantua, and 
was not among the works of art sold to Charles I. 

1 Vol. ii. 254. 2 Yite^ Scc, v. 42. 


Next to this masterpiece, Calandra mentions the 
precious little portrait of Federico as a boy, painted 
by Raphael in Rome, which, as we have already seen, 
had been recovered by Castiglione a few years be- 
fore.^ The St. Jerome by Titian was sent to the 
Duke from Venice in March 1531 ; while of the 
Leonardo given him by Count Nicola MafFei we have 
no certain knowledge, and can only suppose it to be 
the drawing of " a Woman's Head, with dishevelled 
hair " (scapigliata), which is the only work by this 
master's hand mentioned in the inventory of 1627. 
Lastly, in the portrait of the Lady and her child, by an 
unknown Venetian artist, which won Giulio Romano's 
praise, we may recognise a picture which has been 
sometimes supposed to represent Isabella d'Este her- 
self and her son, chiefly because the lady wears the 
turban-shaped head-dress which the Marchesa had 
introduced, and which had become fashionable both 
in Milan and Venice. One example of this portrait 
is in the Gallery of the Hermitage. Another is in 
M. Ludwig Mond's collection in London, while other 
replicas are to be found in Italian galleries. The 
work is certainly of Venetian origin, but has no claim 
to represent the Marchesa, although the original hung 
for many years in the ducal palace at Mantua. 

The preparations for the bride's entry were another 
subject which occupied both Isabella and Messer 
Giulio's thoughts. Federico had given orders that 
the decorations and festivities should be planned on 
a lavish scale, and a voluntary tax to defray these 
expenses was levied under the name of the Duke's 
wedding-gift. This, however, excited a good deal 
of grumbling among his loyal subjects, and Castig- 

1 Vol. ii. i6i. 


Hone's mother, Luigia Gonzaga, was one of those 
who excused themselves from payment. Isabella, as 
usual, entered keenly into the discussion of every 
detail. " Madama," wrote Giulio Romano to the 
Duke, " is of opinion that a spacious covered bridge 
should be erected from the Ponte S. Giorgio to the 
Castello." He, on his part, proposed that a per- 
manent flight of steps should be erected, leading from 
the shores of the lake, where the bride was to land, to 
a portico where JNIadama and her ladies would receive 
her. The walls of this portico might be painted 
white, and hung with festoons of verdure and blue 
draperies, with some embroideries, so as to look well 
for the day, without entailing any great expense, and 
a triumphal arch, as finely panelled and painted as 
those lately erected in honour of the Emperor's visit, 
might be raised on the side facing the Castello. 
" Here," he writes, " there would be plenty of room 
for Madama and all the gentle ladies of Mantua, and 
if it rains, or thunders and lightens, they would be 
under shelter, and there could be large and fine 
windows looking out on the lake, so that they might 
be able to see the arrival of the much-desired sails. 
Here all the chariots can be in waiting, and, im- 
mediately after the bride's reception, the ladies can 
drive without delay across the Piazza to the Duomo."^ 
But before this plan could be carried out, a terrible 
inundation, such as had not been known for many 
years in Lombardy, suspended all festive prepara- 
tions and created a general panic. A week of heavy 
rains set in at the close of October. The Po, which 
was unusually low for the time of year, suddenly 
rose several feet and flooded the whole country 

1 Gaye, op. cit., ii. 233-242. 


between Governolo and Mantua. The Mincio and 
the Oglio broke their bounds ; Sacchetta and Borgo- 
forte were submerged, and many villages and houses 
were destroyed. The injury to property was immense, 
and Mantua itself was in great peril for some days. 
" And still the rain continues," wrote Benedetto 
Agnello to the Doge of Venice, " and still bad news 
comes in from all sides. The upper course of all the 
rivers, we hear, is swollen, and not only have several 
towns been flooded, but many buildings have been 
destroyed, which makes me think that God in his 
anger has allowed this to happen for the chastisement 
of our sins." In this emergency Isabella showed her 
usual courage and presence of mind. She summoned 
the chief officials, appointed special commissioners, 
and gave the necessary orders for the repair of 
the dykes and the preservation of the city. 
'■^ Madama illustrissima" wrote Agnello, "as Your 
Sublimity can imagine, has been in the greatest 
distress in the world, at the sight of the ter- 
rible calamity which has so suddenly befallen her 
state. More than all, she is grieved to hear of the 
damage which you and the gentlemen of Venice 
have suffered by the bursting of the dykes of the 
Po at Sacchetta, and has taken every possible pre- 
caution to prevent the extension of the mischief. 
An infinite number of men are working day and 
night to repair the dykes at this point, and if it is 
in mortal power to prevent further harm, Your Sub- 
limity may be certain that it wiU be done. But 
God and Fate have wiUed this, and it is not in our 
hands to resist them." ^ 

By degrees the floods abated, and the damage 

1 M. Sanuto, Diarii, Iv. 110, 111. 


was as far as possible repaired. But the entry of the 
Duke and his bride was put off, and did not take 
place until the 16th of November. The Duchess 
had been seriously unwell, and the ceremony of 
her reception was considerably curtailed in con- 
sequence.^ The Duke of Milan, who had been 
invited to assist at the festivities, remained at 
Vigevano, and Isabella alone, surrounded by her 
faithful subjects, welcomed Federico's bride to the 
splendid home where her coming had been long and 
anxiously expected. 

1 M. Sanuto, Ivi. 158. 



Isabella at Venice — Death of Margherita Cantelraa — Marriage of 
Ferrante Gonzaga — Duchess Margherita Paleologa — Ariosto 
and Bernardo Tasso send the Marchesa their poems — Visit of 
the Emperor Charles V. to Mantua — Marriage and death of 
the Marquis of Monferrato — His State annexed to Mantua — 
Birth of a son to Duke Federico — Titian paints Isabella's 
portrait from the original by Francia. 

The marriage of her eldest son was the last occasion 
on which Isabella took any active part in public 
affairs. Her vigorous frame began to show signs 
of decay, and she became slowly conscious of 
advancing age. In August 1531, she made her will,^ 
and in the following spring, besides taking her usual 
trip to Venice, visited the baths of Albano for the good 
of her health. On the 22nd of May, the Marchesa 
lost one of her oldest friends, Margherita, the widow 
of Sigismondo Cantelmo, Duke of Sora, who had 
spent the last years of her life at Mantua. This 
lady bequeathed a considerable fortune to Isabella, 
begging her to found a convent of canonesses 
for the help of poor ladies of rank, and to erect a 
monument in memory of Sigismondo and his sons in 
the church of S. Maria della Presentazione.^ Both 
of Margherita's last wishes were faithfully carried 
out, and the imposing tomb of the Cantelmi, which 

1 Luzio e Renier, Mantova, p. 282. 
* D'Arco, Notizie d' Isabella, p. 221. 



was executed from Giulio Romano's designs in 1534, 
is still preserved in a chapel of S. Andrea. These 
two objects naturally absorbed the greater part of 
the fortune which Isabella inherited from her dead 
friend, and she was justly annoyed when her son 
Ferrante wrote to beg for an advance of money, 
on the strength of this large legacy. " If I did 
not see," she replied, "that you evidently share 
the popular fallacy that Signora Cantelma's bequest 
has greatly enriched me, I should be extremely 
surprised at your boldness in daring to ask me 
for 3000 ducats. You know that it has never 
been my habit to hoard money, although certainly, 
if report spoke true, I should have no difficulty in 
satisfying you I " ^ Ferrante had always been the 
most extravagant of Isabella's sons, and the most 
unscrupulous in his demands upon his mother's 
purse. But, he had lately married the wealthy 
heiress Isabella of Capua and had bought the prin- 
cipality of Guastalla, to the south of Mantua, from 
the Torelli family, so that Isabella felt justified in 
resisting his importunities on this occasion. 

Both her sons' marriages, however, turned out 
happily, and Isabella became fondly attached to 
her daughter-in-law, Margherita Paleologa. This 
gentle and virtuous princess, without possessing any 
lemarkable talents or making herself in any way con- 
spicuous, soon won the love of her husband and sub- 
jects. In the fii'st years of her married life the young 
Duchess suffered from the insolence and hatred of 
Isabella Boschetti, who still retained, in a measure, her 
hold upon Federico. But before long this old intrigue 
ended in a tragic manner. It was reported in JNIantua 

* Luzio in Nuova Antologia, 1896. 


that the Duke's mother-in-law, the Marchesa Anna, 
indignant at t\c slights which her daughter received, 
had tried to poison Federico's mistress. Upon this, 
her husband, Francesco Gonzaga, entered into a 
conspiracy against the Duke, and was betrayed and 
put to death at Ferrara.^ 

In the autumn of 1531, the Marchesa went back 
to Venice, and while she was staying there her old 
friend Ariosto sent her a copy of the third edition of 
his Orlando Furioso. When her son Ferrante was 
born, in 1507, the poet had read her some cantos from 
his unpublished poem, and when the epic was first 
printed, in 1516, he came to Mantua in person and 
offered her the fu'st copy. Now he gave her this new 
edition, containing the famous passage in honour of 
the house of Este, and the following lines in her 
praise : — 

" D'opere illustre e di bei studi arnica 
Ch'io non so ben se piii leggiadra e bella. 
Mi debba dire, o pii saggia e pudica, 
Liberale e magnanima Isabella. 

Per I'avvenir vo che ciascuna ch'aggia, 
II nome tuo, sia di sublime ingegno 
E sia bella, gentil, cortese e saggia, 
E di vera onestade arrivi al segno ; 
Onde materia agli scrittori caggia 
Di celebrare il nome inclito e degno, 
Taleh^ Parnaso, Pindo et Elicone, 
Sempre Isabella, Isabella risuona." ^ 

The Marchesa replied on the 15th of October 
m the following cordial terms : " Your book of 
Orlando Furioso, which you have sent me, is most 
welcome in all respects, and most of all, since, as you 

1 G. B. Intra in Arch. St. Lomh., 1887. 

2 Cantos xlii., xiii. 59 and xxix. 26. 


tell me, you have newly revised and enlarged it. I 
shall no doubt find new pleasure and delight in 
reading the poem. I thank you, more than I can 
express, for your kind allusions to me, and you may 
be quite sure that I shall always be ready to serve 
you, whenever an occasion presents itself, because 
of the great affection and admiration which I have 
always felt for your rare talents, which are indeed 
deserving of the highest favour. So, from my heart, 
I place myself wholly at your disposal." ^ 

Isabella was as good as her word, and when, a 
fortnight later, Charles V. again visited Mantua, 
Ariosto was invited to meet him, and presented His 
Cassarean Majesty with a copy of his Orlando. Seven 
months later, the great poet died, on the 6th of July 
1533, and Girolamo da Sestola informed the Marchesa 
of his death. "Yesterday, at seven o'clock in the 
evening, our Messer Lodovico Ariosto died. He is 
certainly a very great loss. May God receive him I " ^ 
Isabella replied a week later in a warm letter, full of 
regret and affection. " All Ferrara," she writes, 
" must weep for him, since we have lost in him not 
only a gentleman who was full of goodness, but one 
whose rare and excellent talents made him the greatest 
ornament of our country." 

Another old friend, Bernardo Tasso, the author 
of the Amadigi, sent Isabella a copy of his poems, 
entitled II Libro degli Amori, on the 5th of Decem- 
ber 1531, with the following graceful epistle : " I 
should care little for the small praise or blame these 
verses may bring me, were they not submitted to the 
judgment of Your Excellency, which is perfect in 

1 D'Arco, op. cit., p. 324. 

8 Luzio in Giom. St. d. Lett, I9OO. 


these matters, as in many other honourable things. 
If they are fortunate enough to deserve your praise, 
they will be far more dear and precious to me than 
they now are. I beg Your Excellency to accept 
them, and, when you have a spare hour, take them 
up in your hand, and, as you read my poor verses, 
gently excuse my follies, remembering that from 
childhood I have been Your Excellency's servant, 
and shall ever remain so, as my actions will bear 
witness, if a little more time on earth is allowed me. 
And so I commend myself humbly to Your Excel- 
lency, praying that you may enjoy a long and happy 

Isabella, who had become intimate with Tasso on 
her frequent visits to Ferrara, greatly appreciated this 
attentions, as the following letter shows : — 

"Dearest Friend, — I have received and ah-eady 
read the greater part of your love-songs in the vulgar 
tongue, which you kindly sent me, and I think them 
so well chosen and gracefully expressed that their 
elegance not only demands my praise, but compels 
me to thank you for the pleasure and delight which 
your noble present has afforded me. I send you infinite 
thanks, and repeat that nothing could have given me 
more pleasure or filled me with greater desire to help 
you. I only await an occasion of showing you how 
warm is the love I bear you, and place myself at your 
disposal with my whole heart." 

Bernardo was afterwards appointed Governor of 
Ostiglia by Isabella's grandson, Duke Guglielmo, in 
1563, and died at Mantua six years later in the arms 
of his greater son, Torquato Tasso. ^ 

In November 1532, Charles V. once more crossed 

^ D'Arco, op. cit., p. 323. ^ Luzio, op. cit. 


the Alps, and entered Mantua on the 7th, bringing 
with him a great train of Burgundian guards, bag- 
gage, horses, and sporting dogs. His pleasant and 
affable manners made a great impression on the 
Venetian envoys. He went out hunting or rode 
out every day incognito with the Duke, and walked 
about the town, unattended by his guards and fre- 
quently unrecognised. Often people were puzzled how 
to distinguish him from Alfonso d'Avalos, who was 
generally at his side and wore the same Spanish suit 
of black velvet embroidered with gold, until Charles, 
hearing them ask, " Which is he ? " would raise his 
cap with a smile. Ferrante and his cousin, Luigi 
Gonzaga of Borgoforte, were the Emperor's constant 
companions, and talked and laughed with him in the 
most famiUar way ; but the Venetians noticed that 
he always spoke of war and politics with the Duke of 
Urbino, and only discussed hunting and other amuse- 
ments with Federico. This time the Duke resolved 
to give a series of theatrical performances in the 
Castello, and asked his mother to allow her suite of 
rooms on the ground floor of the Corte Vecchia to be 
fitted up as a stage. ^ The preparations were on a 
grand scale, and cost Messer Giulio and Calandra 
no small amount of trouble. At Federico's request, 
Titian sent him a skilful and '* very pleasing artist," 
called Vincenzo of Brescia, who painted a large 
canvas with villages and houses and an Emperor 
on horseback attended by guards on Arab steeds, 
which was suspended from the roof by gold silk 
cords.^ Messer Giulio, "although little versed in 
such matters, also displayed rare skill and ingenuity," 

1 M. Sanuto, Diarii, Ivii. 227, &c. 
* D'AncoiiEj Teatro, ii. 430, &c 


and painted, we are told, the most beautiful per- 
spectives and scenery. " Never," exclaims Vasari, 
*' were masquerades so splendid, or costumes so varied 
as those which this master designed for the jousts, 
pageants, and tournaments that were held on this 
occasion, and which the Emperor Charles and all 
present beheld with amazement."^ 

The magnificent paintings in the new halls of 
the Castello, and above all Titian's portrait of the 
Duke, made a still deeper impression upon the art- 
loving monarch, who repeatedly declared that he 
should like this master to paint his own portrait.^ 
Upon which Federico sent an express messenger to 
Venice, begging Titian to come to Mantua at once, 
and with a touch of his mother's practical nature, 
added a postscript desiring the painter to bring some 
fresh supplies of fish with him. Titian, however, 
was unable to leave Venice, and agreed to join the 
Emperor at Bologna, where he was to meet the Pope 
in December. On St. Andrew's Day, a solemn 
mass was held in S. Andrea, at which the Dukes of 
Ferrara, Urbino, Milan, and Mantua were all present, 
and the Marchese del Vasto was invested with the 
Order of the Golden Fleece. On the 5th, a ball was 
held in the Castello, and the Marchesa Isabella sat 
at the Emperor's table, her daughter-in-law being in 
delicate health and unable to appear. When they 
had finished supper, Charles took his hostess by the 
hand and led her to the tables where the other 
guests sat, and himself waited on them in the most 
gallant fashion in the world. A final hunting party 
had been fixed to take place at Gonzaga, but was 

1 File, c^'C, V. 335. 

* P. Aretino, Lettere, i. 257. 


stopped by a heavy fall of snow, and the Duke 
ordered sleighs to be prepared after the German 
fashion. But news came of the Pope's arrival at 
Bologna, and Charles could not tarry any longer. 
" All the ladies," says the Venetian, " were looking 
forward to this new amusement with delight, and 
cursed the Pope for disturbing their pleasures." ^ To- 
wards the middle of the month, Charles started on 
his journey, escorted by the Dukes of Mantua, Fer- 
rara, and Milan, and proceeded to Bologna, stopping 
on the way at Borgoforte Gonzaga, and Correggio, 
where he was the guest of Veronica Gambara. 

Before leaving Italy, the Emperor arranged a 
marriage between Donna Giulia of Aragon, the Duke 
of Mantua's rejected bride, and Giovanni Giorgio, 
the infirm old Marquis of Monferrato. The mar- 
riage was celebrated with great pomp at Ferrara 
in April, and on the 21st, the bride entered Casale 
in state. But the poor old bridegroom was so ill 
that he could not leave his room, and died eight 
days afterwards. The Infanta returned to her 
mother at Ferrara, and the male Hne of the Paleo- 
loghi came to an end. The Duke of Mantua now 
claimed Monferrato by right of his wife, the only 
surviving child of the Marquis Guglielmo, and in 
spite of the opposition of the Marquis of Saluzzo and 
of the Duke of Savoy, finally attained his object. In 
1536, an imperial decree was issued by which Federico 
and his heirs obtained the title of Marquis of Mon- 
ferrato, and this rich province was annexed to Mantua. 

On the 13th of March 1533, Duchess Margherita 
gave birth to a son and heir, who received the name 
of Francesco and was held at the font by his grand- 

^ M. Sanuto, op. ciU, p. 334. 


mother, Isabella d'Este. The long-desired event was 
celebrated by pubhc rejoicings which lasted three 
days, and the riotous youth of Mantua gave vent to 
their exultation by making a huge bonfire, in which 
the doors of the shops, the seats of the Palazzo di 
Giustizia, with the documents which they contained, 
and even the chairs of the Duomo, were all con- 

In this same month of March 1533, Isabella 
addressed a letter to a certain Messer Giovanni Tucca, 
who was secretary to Alfonso d'Avalos, Marchese del 
Vasto. This powerful favourite had twice visited 
Mantua with his imperial master, and had formed 
a close friendship with the Duke, who employed 
Titian to paint the well-known group of D'Avalos 
and his family. This fine work was long one of the 
ornaments of the ducal collection, and after the sale 
of Charles the First's pictures, passed into the hands 
of Louis XIV. It now came to the JVIarchesa's 
knowledge that Del Vasto had expressed a wish to 
acquire her own picture of the Magdalen for his 
aunt, Vittoria Colonna. In her anxiety to oblige 
her son's influential friend, Isabella promptly sent the 
picture in question, with the following note, to Messer 
Tucca : — 

" Some time ago, I saw a letter which you 
wrote to my friend. Count Nicola MafFei, in which 
you mentioned that the illustrious Signor Marchese 
del Vasto wished to have my picture of S. M. 
Magdalen, that he might give it to the Signora 
Marchesa di Pescara. Since there is nothing in the 
world that I would not give His Excellency, I felt 
the greatest satisfaction on hearing of this his desire, 

* M. Sanuto, op. cit. 


and would have sent him the picture at once ; but 
as I wished to keep a replica of the work, it was 
necessary to wait until the painter was able to copy- 
it. Now it is finished, and I send the picture 
to you by the bearer, praying you to present it 
to the Signor Marchese in my name, saying how 
much I wish it were even better than it is, although 
if it pleases the Lady Marchesa, it cannot fail to be 
very beautiful. And pray assure him — what, indeed, 
he knows already — that anything else which I possess 
is at his service." ^ 

In parting with her choicest pictures to gratify 
the Emperor's favourites, Isabella was only following 
the example of her brother Alfonso, who allowed 
the Imperial secretary, Covos, to choose several of 
the finest Titians at Ferrara, including his own por- 
trait and that of his son Ercole. But it would be 
interesting to know who was the painter of the 
Magdalen which passed into the hands of Vittoria 
Colonna. This accomphshed lady had already, as we 
know, one Magdalen of surpassing beauty, painted by 
Titian at the Duke of Mantua's request, and it is 
doubtful if she wished for another. On the other 
hand, a copy of a Magdalen by Titian is mentioned 
in the inventory of 1627, and the relations of this 
master with the Gonzagas were so frequent that 
Vittoria's picture was probably his work, and may 
have been copied from the small travelling-piece 
which he painted for the Marchesa in 1530. 

There is no doubt that Titian executed another 
commission for Isabella about this time. This was the 
fine portrait of herself now in the Imperial Gallery 
at Vienna. This picture, which represents the Mar- 

* Luzio in Rivista Maniovana, i. 19- 


chesa in the full bloom of her beauty, although it was 
painted in 1536, when she was already over sixty, has 
always been a puzzle to critics and historians. But 
new documents from the Archivio Gonzaga have been 
recently brought to hght by Dr. Luzio, which ex- 
plain the enigma, and make the whole case clear. ^ 
Titian had already, as we have seen, painted a por- 
trait of Isabella at the age of fifty-five, when her 
face and figure had lost their youthful grace, and 
the Duke, who was fondly attached to his mother, 
naturally wished to have a picture of the Marchesa 
as she appeared in the flower of her age, by the 
hand of his favourite master. Then Isabella re- 
membered the portrait by Francia which had ex- 
cited so much admiration when it was painted in 
1511, and which, to her great regret, she had given 
to Gianfrancesco Zaninello. At her request, the 
brother of the Ferrarese collector, into whose hands 
Francia's portrait had passed after Gianfrancesco's 
death, lent Titian the precious picture, which the 
great master promised to copy as soon as possible. 
The negotiation was effected by means of one of 
Isabella's constant correspondents at Ferrara, the 
humanist Stabellino, who generally signs himself 
" Apollo " or " Demogorgon " in his letters. On 
the 3rd of March 1534, this writer addressed the 
following letter to her from the Schifanoia palace, 
where he was staying with Duchess Renee, begging 
for the return of the portrait : — 

" Dear and most honoured Lady, — About three 
or four months ago, Your Excellency desired that 
I should ask Zaninello, the brother of the late 
Giovanni Francesco Zaninello, for your portrait, in 

^ Luzio in Emporium, 1900, p. 432. 


order that I might send it to you at Mantua, with 
the promise that it should be returned to him in 
about a month's time. I asked him for the picture, 
and he gave it me gladly, and 1 sent it to Your 
Highness. But the portrait has never been returned. 
Zaninello has asked me several times about this, and 
has begged me earnestly to write and ask you to send 
his picture back, if you have no objection, since he 
wishes to keep it for your sake, and in remembrance 
of the devoted attachment which he has long borne 
and still bears you. — Your servant, Apollo." 

On receiving this note, Isabella wrote off at once 
to Benedetto Agnello : — 

" Since the lender of our portrait which Messer 
Titian had to copy begs earnestly that it may be 
returned, we desire you to recover the picture, and 
send it to us by a discreet and trusty person, packed 
in such a manner that it may not run any risk of being 
injured." Mantua, March 6, 1534. 

But Titian, it is plain, had not yet begun the 
portrait which he was to paint from Francia's ori- 
ginal, and two whole years passed before the work 
was finished. On the 5th of May 1536, when the 
Emperor was in Italy again, and the Duke of 
Mantua went to meet him at Asti, Isabella once 
more renewed her oft-repeated entreaty, and begged 
Agnello to ask Titian to return the borrowed portrait. 
The ambassador wrote in reply from Venice: " Titian 
is not here ; he started for Mantua some days ago, 
and followed the Duke to court, intending to return 
with him to Mantua, where Your Excellency will 
see him before I do, and can speak to him yourself 
about ZanineUo's portrait, and order him to return it 
as soon as he reaches home.** 


On the 29th of May, Isabella wrote to acknow- 
ledge the receipt of Titian's portrait, which had at 
length reached her : — 

" Our portrait by the hand of Titian pleases us 
so much that we doubt if we were ever as beautiful 
as this, even at the age at which he has represented 
us. We have been thinking of making some return 
to Titian for the trouble which he has had, but have 
decided to wait until he sends back Zaninello's por- 
trait, which you will beg him to restore, in order that 
it may be given back to those gentlemen who have 
been expecting it so impatiently, and, it must be 
owned, with good reason." ^ 

This second portrait of Isabella by Titian was 
also copied by Peter Paul Rubens when he was at 
Mantua in the early years of the seventeenth century, 
and his replica was engraved by Vorsterman, whose 
print bears the inscription : Isabella Estensis, Fran- 
cisci Gonzagce, March. MantovcBy uxor. E. Titiard 
prototypo. P. P. Rubens ex. The engraving agrees 
exactly with the portrait by Titian, which came to 
Vienna in the Archduke Leopold's collection, and 
there can be no doubt that this handsome and richly- 
dressed young princess is Isabella d'Este, as she was 
when Francia painted her twenty-five years before. 
The features bear a marked likeness to those of her 
daughter Leonora ; the blue eyes remind us that 
Isabella had found fault with the Bologna master 
for not making her eyes dark enough, and the 
wavy hair retains the golden hue which Equicola and 
Trissino compare to the radiant locks of Petrarch's 
Laura. On her head we see the favourite jewelled 
cap, while the old pattern of interlaced links, de- 

^ Luzio, Emporium, 1 900, p. 432. 


signed for her by Niccolo da Correggio and Leon- 
ardo long ago, is repeated in the gold and silver 
embroidery of the pale blue sleeves. A black velvet 
camora or pehsse, trimmed with ermine, is thrown 
over her shoulders ; a white muslin chemisette and 
frills set off the dazzling fairness of her skin, and pearl 
earrings and a pearl brooch in her head-dress are her 
only ornaments. This portrait, admirably painted as 
it is, naturally lacks the life and character of Leon- 
ardo's drawing, and is without the force that distin- 
guishes Rubens's copy of the earlier Titian. We feel 
that the beautiful Marchesa herself never sat for this 
picture, and that fii'st Francia, and after him Titian, 
worked from another artist's design. We admire the 
grace and elegance of Isabella's attire, and are able 
to form some idea of her features, but we miss the 
keen intelligence and sparkling vivacity that were 
the most striking marks of her vivid and brilhant 



Relations of Isabella with Ferrara — Stabellino's letters — Duchess 
Renee and her child Anna d'Este — Death of Duke Alfonso — 
Isabella's trip to the Lake of Garda — Her favourite dwarfs — 
The government of Solarolo — Leonora of Urbino — Her son 
Guidobaldo's marriage — Manufacture of embroidered stuffs and 
caps at Mantua — Isabella's majolica dinner services — Plates in 
the Museo Correr and British Museum — Cardinal Gonzaga 
sends his mother a medal of Aristotle — Her interest in gar- 
dening — The gardens at Porto — Trissino begs the help of her 
gardener at his villa of Cricoli. 

The strong family affection which was so striking a 
feature in Isabella's character became deepened and 
intensified in her declining years. Nothing is more 
remarkable than the warmth and constancy with 
which she clung to her old home and friends at 
Ferrara, in these last days. She still paid frequent 
visits to her brother's court, and received weekly 
letters from Girolamo da Sestola, while the witty 
noveUst Stabellino kept her fully informed of 
everything that happened at Ferrara. Now that 
Duke Alfonso had at length recovered Modena and 
Reggio, a new era of peace and prosperity set in, 
and the court resumed its old gaiety. Stabellino's 
letters abound in descriptions of the fetes that were 
held at the Schifanoia, and of the costumes worn by 
Duchess Renee and her ladies. Isabella, as usual, 
was anxious to hear every detail, and the novelist 


did his best to satisfy her curiosity. He tells her 
how one evening the Duchess entertained the ladies 
of the court at the Schifanoia, and appeared in a 
blue satin robe with a high collar in the French 
fashion, but with sleeves slashed to " show the white 
chemisette, such as our ladies wear," a gold fillet, 
little black velvet cap with a white feather on her 
head. Six of her ladies wore black satin, and 
six were robed in crimson, with the same velvet 
caps and gold fillets, while the Queen of Naples's 
daughters were clad in Italian fashion with low-cut 
bodices and bare necks. A week afterwards Rende 
appeared in the park at Belfiore, wearing a black 
satin robe in the French style, but a gold cap of 
Mantuan cut, which, not being a French fashion, 
greatly exercised the tongues of her guests, although 
StabeUino remarks : " It is said she wore this cap to 
hide her ears, or perhaps from fear of cold."^ A few 
months later he reports that Madame de Soubise has, 
it is plain, persuaded the Duchess to give up the 
Portuguese fashion then in vogue in Italy, and return 
to the French style of dress. " All our ladies," he 
adds, " are on the tip-toe of expectation to see what 
fashions she adopts, and are ready to follow her." 
Unfortunately the influence of Madame de Soubise 
extended to other matters besides dress, and became 
the cause of serious troubles, which ended in her dis- 
grace and return to France. But, as long as Duke 
Alfonso lived, Renee remained comparatively tranquil, 
and in November 1533, the birth of a son, who re- 
ceived his grandfather's name, and had Pope Clement 
VII. for his sponsor, was the cause of great rejoicings. 
Two years before this, the Duchess had given birth 

1 Fontana, op. cit., i. 144. 


to a daughter, who was christened Anna, after her 
grandmother, Anne de Bretagne, and was said to bear 
a striking resemblance to her great-aunt, Isabella. 

On the 24th of January 1532, that kindly old 
gossip, Sestola, wrote to Isabella : " As our Lady 
Duchess rode to-day in her litter, to see the tourna- 
ment at the Schifanoia, she called me to walk by her 
side, and asked me what I thought of her baby, 
who is indeed a beautiful child. She told me that 
our Signor had said that she was a little like Your 
Excellency when you were a child. I replied that I 
thought so too, and that I had seen a portrait of Your 
Signoria at Mantua which certainly resembled the 
little girl. The Duchess immediately told me to write 
to Your Excellency, and beg you to send her this 
portrait, which is one that I saw in the house of la 
Brogna, when we went to see her babe christened. 
The portrait is one of Your Highness as a child, if I 
remember right, wearing a garland or wreath on your 
brow, with a clasp in the centre of the forehead. I 
think that you must have given the picture to Brogna, 
because you showed it to me when we were at her 
house. Will Your Excellency kindly ask Brogna 
for the portrait, and let me have it ? and when the 
Duchess has seen it, I promise to send it back safely. 
The Duchess never lets the baby go out of her sight, 
and she is certainly a very fine child." ^ 

Isabella sent the portrait by the next courier to 
Ferrara, with the following note : " I send my por- 
trait to gratify the Duchess, and think this must be 
the one you mean, because it was taken when I was 
about three years old. You will be able to judge 
if it bears any resemblance to Her Excellency's 

1 Luzio in Emporium, 1900, p, 345. 


little daughter, and if, please God, she is at all like 
me in the Duke's opinion, I shall be greatly de- 
lighted. I have given another portrait, which was 
taken after my marriage, to the court painter here, 
to be restored, and will send it to you as soon as this 
is done, but should be glad to have both of them 
back again. Commend me to the Duchess." 

On the 8th of February, Girolamo wrote to say 
that both the portraits had reached him safely. " I 
took them at once to the Duchess, who was more 
delighted with them than I can say, and we went 
to look at the child directly. Certainly, my dear 
lady, the portrait of you is very like her — from the 
nose downwards, her face is exactly your own. Every 
one who has seen your portrait says that it bears the 
strongest resemblance to the child, and so Her Ex- 
cellency has begged to be allowed to keep it for this 

Before the portraits were returned, the Duke 
ordered them both to be copied, so that some likeness 
of the Marchesa should remain at Ferrara, and that 
he should keep these recollections of his sister before 
his eyes. Isabella was highly gratified, and took 
especial interest in this httle Anna d'Este, who 
was, one day, to become the wife of Duke Francis 
of Guise, and hand down the yellow locks of Lucrezia 
Borgia and the charm of the Este princesses to the 
heirs of the house of Lorraine. 

In May 1534, Alfonso d'Este went to Milan for 
the wedding of his nephew Francesco Sforza. It may 
have been at his suggestion that his favourite master 
Titian painted the portraits of the bridegroom and of 
his youthful bride^ the Emperor's niece, Christina of 

* Luzio, op. cit. 


Denmark. In the following autumn, Duke Alfonso 
died very suddenly, on the 31st of October 1534, only 
three months after his enemy, Pope Clement VII. 
But the loss of this brother, to whom Isabella had 
been so tenderly attached from her earliest childhood, 
made no difference in the ties which bound her to 
Ferrara. The Marchesa's relations with his children 
remained as intimate as before, and when in the 
winter of 1536 Renee was ill, and suffering after the 
birth of her second daughter Lucrezia, Duke Ercole 
wrote to his aunt, begging her to spend carnival at 
FeiTara, and amuse his sick wife. Isabella gladly 
responded to his appeal, and on the 30th of January, 
wrote to tell her son Duke Federico of her safe arrival 
at Ferrara. " To-day I arrived here half-aij-hour 
after nightfall, and was received by the Archbishop 
[her nephew Ippolito] four miles from Ferrara, 
and found the Duke and many nobles and ladies 
awaiting me on the banks of the river. They 
escorted me with Hghted torches to my lodgings 
in the Corte Vecchia of the Castello, opposite 
the Church of San Domenico. Soon afterwards I 
visited the Duchess, who has had a touch of fever, 
but nothing very serious, and then went into the hall 
to see the dancing begin." A few days later she 
wrote again, and spoke of enjoying the company of 
the Duke and Duchess, and of a supper given by 
Ercole in the new rooms of the palace, " which was 
followed by a concert of varied and excellent music, 
and afterwards by dancing till bed-time."^ 

Isabella, it is evident, had lost none of her powers 
of enjoyment with advancing age, and the high 
spirits and keen interest with which she entered into 

^ Fontana, op. cit. 


the amusements of the younger generation, made 
her presence welcome. Her love of travel was still 
as great as ever. In the spring of 1535, she took 
another expedition, accompanied by her favourite 
ladies and courtiers, to the shores of the Lago di 
Garda,^ and once more visited Sermione and Sal6, 
and all the lovely Riviera where she and Elisa- 
betta of Urbino had spent that happy spring-time 
long ago. On this occasion her pet dwarf, Mor- 
gantino, was one of the party, and his tricks and 
pleasantries delighted the people who lived on 
the shores of the lake. Sometimes the peasants 
crowned him with flowers and leaves, and he danced 
morescas on the shores of the lake, or joined in the 
dances of the country folk, to their great delight. 
One day as he drove from Cavriana on the box of 
the Marchesa's coach, a violent storm of rain came 
on, and if Morgantino had not promptly taken re- 
fuge inside the carriage he must have been drowned, 
remarked one of the party, " like a fine chicken ! " 

This Morgantino was a very favourite dwarf, 
who accompanied the Marchesa to Rome in 1527, 
and charmed Cardinal Pisani so much at Venice in 
1530, that Isabella allowed this reverend prelate to 
keep him for several weeks. He and Delia may 
have been the Nanino and Nanina to whom we find 
frequent allusions in the Marchesa's letters at this 
period of her life, and who became the parents of 
a race of pet dwarfs. Nanina was sent to Bologna 
when Isabella was there for the Emperor's corona- 
tion, and two years afterwards, the Marchesa offered 
Duchess Rende one of her children, who bade fair 
to be as small as herself. " Four years ago," she 

^ D'Ancona, Teatro, ii. ; Ferrato, Del Viaggio, &c., p. 43, 


wrote to one of Renee's ladies, " I promised Madame 
Renee to give her the first girl who was born to my 
dwarfs. As she knows, the puttina is now two years 
old, and will no doubt remain a dwarf, although she 
hardly gives hopes of being as tiny as my Delia. 
She is now able to walk alone and without a guide, 
if the Duchess wishes to have her." Another " bella 
Nanina" was sent by the Marchesa to Ferrante 
Gonzaga's wife in October 1533, and the young 
princess wrote a grateful letter to her mother-in- 
law% saying that the dwarf was the sweetest and 
gentlest creature in the world, and afforded her 
infinite amusement."^ 

In these last years Isabella's travels were chiefly 
limited to Ferrara and Venice, and only occasionally 
extended to her Uttle fief of Solarolo. The frequent 
letters which she addressed to the governor and 
magistrates of this favoured town are stiU preserved 
in the Archivio Gonzaga,^ and are said to be 
models of wise and far-sighted administration. 
While she did not shrink from repressing riot and 
disorder sternly, she insisted on the most scrupulous 
regard for justice, and neglected nothing which 
could promote the welfare of her subjects. After 
Isabella's death the little principality passed to her 
younger grandson, Luigi Gonzaga, who inherited 
the Duchy of Nevers through his wife, and sold 
Solarolo in 1574 to Pope Gregory XIII.^ 

Isabella's affection for her daughter Leonora had 
never been as great and absorbing as that which she 
cherished for her sons, and after the death of the 

1 Luzio e Renier in Nuova Antologia, 1891, p. 134. 

2 Luzio in Arch. St. Lomb., 1901, p. 146. 
8 Litta, Famiglie, vol. iii. tav, 35. 


Duchess Elisabetta, misunderstandings often arose 
between Federico Gonzaga and his brother-in-law, 
which made a division between the two families. 
But in her last years Isabella became more closely 
drawn towards Leonora, and her heart yearned over 
this daughter who had left home so young, and had 
known so much trouble. After her return from 
Rome in 1527, when Leonora was taking the baths of 
Albano, Isabella spoke very affectionately of her to a 
Dominican friar, who reported the conversation to 
the Duchess. "The other day," he wrote, "Madama, 
your Illustrious Mother and my honoured mistress, 
spoke of Your Excellency and of all the miseries 
and ill-health which you have endured, and ex- 
pressed the greatest distress and anxiety on your 
account. Twice over Her Excellency repeated 
these words : ' The poor child has really been cruelly 
tormented by fortune I She has really never had 
any happiness ; I only wonder she has not died of 
grief I ' And she repeated these words, as if she 
herself shared your sufferings, so that I can tell 
Your Excellency I felt quite consoled, and could 
see that she spoke from the bottom of her heart. 
I have always known her kind and loving to Your 
Excellency, but now I see how much deep affection 
and sympathy she feels for you. ... So Your Ex- 
cellency must take courage, and together with the 
benefit which you derive from the waters and your 
prayers, this good news may help to give you long 
and happy days." ^ 

In 1533, Leonora spent the spring months at 
Mantua, and gave birth to a son named Giulio, 
who entered the Church, and afterwards became a 
^ Luzio e Renier, MatUova, p. 281. 


Cardinal. In the following year her eldest son, 
Guidobaldo, the boy who had received his first lessons 
in Virgil at his grandmother's knee, was married to 
Giulia Varana, the heiress of Camerino. Isabella 
had always been on friendly terms with this family, 
and kept up an active correspondence with the 
Duchess of Camerino, who was related to the house 
of Este. The bride's trousseau, on this occasion, was 
chiefly made at JNIantua, under the personal super- 
vision of the Marchesa, who wrote to tell the Duchess 
that the embroideries were all in hand, and should 
be finished as soon as possible. '* I quite hope," she 
adds, " that they may be as beautiful and perfect as I 
should wish, since, as Your Highness knows, there 
are, in this city, persons of gi-eat skill and knowledge 
in this branch of art." ^ Thus, even in her old age, 
Isabella maintained her reputation for elegance and 
fine taste, and foreign queens and princesses still 
looked to her as the glass of fashion. The French 
Queen warmly appreciated a gift of a dozen pairs 
of gloves which Isabella sent her one Christmas, 
and the gold-embroidered caps or scuffiotti which 
were made from her patterns at Mantua, became 
famous throughout Italy. When Lucrezia Borgia 
first married she begged for one of these caps, and 
when in later years Duke Alfonso was growing bald, 
Bartolomeo Ziliolo asked Isabella to send him some 
very beautiful caps, elegantly worked in gold and 
silver, which he had seen at Mantua, and received 
five of the best specimens which the Marchesa could 
lay hands on, by express.^ Again, in 1518, we find 
Raphael and Castiglione's friend the historian, Andrea 

1 Luzio in Nuova Antologia, 1 896. 

2 Bertolotti, Artisti, &c. 


Navagero, thanking Equicola for the gold scuffiotto 
which he has sent his innamorata, and which this 
fair lady wears with all the more pleasure because it 
is made after a new fashion which has not yet been 
seen in Venice. In those days when the Court of 
the Gonzagas had gained a world-wide celebrity, a 
band of Mantuan embroiderers emigrated to London, 
and settled at the Court of Henry VIII., where 
they found speedy employment. 

The word " Mantua-maker " is said to owe its 
origin to these Italian emigrants, and it was the fame 
of Isabella d'Este that inspired Leigh Hunt's well- 
known Unes : 

" Mantua of every age the long renown, 
That now a Virgil giv'st, and now a gown ! " 

Another artistic manufacture which Isabella 
patronised throughout her life, and on which she 
left her mark, was the majolica of Urbino. Many 
commissions for this beautiful ware were given by 
her to the workers of Casteldurante and Pesaro. 
In 1523, Alfonso d'Este sent an artist named 
Antonio da Faenza, who was working for him at 
Ferrara, to his sister at Mantua, with several fine 
dishes and plates of his manufacture. " If you wish 
for similar works of equal beauty," wrote the Duke, 
"you have only to give your orders to Maestro 
Antonio, who will not fail to satisfy you." ^ And 
in 1530, when Calandra wrote to order a dinner 
service, or credenza, Picenardi, the poet who fre- 
quently corresponded with the Marchesa, replied : 
" I have been to Urbino, where I saw many ad- 
mirable pieces of majolica, painted with landscapes, 

1 Bertolotti in Arch. St. Lomb., xvi, 832. 


fables, and stories of surpassing beauty. I in- 
quired about the service which you ordered. It 
is impossible to give any idea of the price without 
knowing the quality and quantity of the pieces 
required. But they tell me that one of the large 
dishes would be about two and a half ducats, and 
the smaller ones a ducat, or a ducat and a half 
each. Bowls and round dishes are three or four 
ducats a-piece, according to the style of workman- 
ship, which varies considerably in excellence," ^ 

Many pieces of the magnificent dinner services 
which once belonged to Isabella are still in exist- 
ence, and may be seen in public and private 
collections. There are seventeen plates in the 
Correr Museum at Venice, bearing the Este and 
Gonzaga arms, and painted with graceful mytho- 
logical figures — Apollo playing the viol, and Orpheus 
charming the wild beasts with his magic song — in 
which MoreUi recognised the hand of Raphael's 
master, Timoteo Viti. Another plate, painted with 
Isabella's favourite device of musical notes and 
rests, may be seen in the Bologna Museum ; while 
several richly - coloured dishes are in the British 
Museum. The last-named pieces all bear the Este 
and Gonzaga arms, supported by winged boys, and 
the motto Nee spe nee metu. Two of the largest 
dishes are decorated with groups of Apollo slaying 
the Python, and Daphne turning into the laurel 
bush as the Sun-god lays his hand upon her.^ But 
the finest of all is the seodella or bowl in M. 
Alphonse de Rothschild's collection in Paris, which 
M. Jacquemart has called the masterpiece of ItaUan 

^ Campori, Notisie, &c., p. 111. 

' LermoliefF, Gallerie zu Berlin, p. 219> &C- 


majolica.^ Here the ground is blue, and the Marchesa's 
arms, including the fleur-de-lys which the Este were 
privileged to wear, are blazoned in colours on a 
shield, supported by putti, while below a troop of 
winged boys are represented, with banners in their 
hands, and a scroll inscribed with the words, Nee 
spe nee metu. Both for elegance of shape and 
quality of paste, as well as for the grace of the 
painted figures and charm of the whole decoration, 
this centre-piece, which once adorned Isabella's 
dinner-table, remains unsurpassed. All of these ex- 
quisite specimens are now recognised to be the work 
of Nicolo Pellipario of Casteldurante, who Uved at 
Urbino between 1520 and 1530, and many of them 
still bear the monogram of this fine artist, whose 
rare merit our Marchesa was quick to discover and 
turn to good account. 

But fond as Isabella was of fine majolica and 
rich stuffs, of elegant costumes and deUcate em- 
broideries, the love of antiques remained her ruling 
passion. Of all her contemporaries none was more 
fully dominated by that " foolish madness," to which 
Zuan Francesco Vaher referred, when he sent her 
an antique marble head which had just arrived from 
Rhodes, and was greatly admired in Venice, although 
he fears it may seem a vile thing among the treasures 
of the Grotta. Isabella thanked her Venetian friend 
in rapturous terms, which made him say that if the 
head had been made of diamonds and rubies, she 
could not have expressed more gratitude. 

Her delight was still greater when, in August, 
1536, Cardinal Ercole, the one of her sons who 
inherited the most of his mother's scholarly tastes, 

1 GazcLle d. B. Arts, xix. 397. 
VOL. II. 2 A 


sent her a cast of a portrait-medal of Aristotle which 
had lately been discovered in Rome. Pomponazzi's 
old pupil appreciated the worth of this rare treasure 
to the full, and felt sure that his mother would 
understand the deep interest which he felt in con- 
templating the features of the great philosopher. 

" Most illustrious Lady, and dearest Mother, — 
Since a very ancient medal bearing the head of 
Aristotle has lately been found here, a number of 
casts and impressions have been taken from it. 
After a great deal of trouble I have at length 
succeeded in obtaining one of these, which I now 
send to Your Excellency, so that as it is impos- 
sible to obtain the medal itself, which is no longer 
here, you may at least have a cast that shows the face 
of this divine man. And certainly, if ever the 
reverse of a medal was suitable and appropriate, it 
is this figure of the Goddess of Nature, concerning 
whom Aristotle reasoned so well that he seemed 
to penetrate to the very marrow of her bones. 1 
shall be pleased if this cast satisfies Your Excellency, 
whose hands I kiss humbly, knowing that the sight 
of my hand-writing will show you that I am in 
good health, in spite of the excessive heat." ^ From 
Rome, August 17, 1536. 

To the last this wonderful woman retained that 
overmastering love of beauty, alike in art or nature, 
which had distinguished her from early youth. The 
spring loveliness of the shores of Garda and the blue 
waters of that sunny lake still excited her enthusiasm 
as keenly as of old, and she was never tired of im- 
proving and adorning the gardens of Porto. In 
these last years of her life she spent much time in 

^ Bertolotti, Artisii, &c. 


this favourite retreat, which was so closely connected 
with her happiest days. Here was the Casino which 
Biagio Rossetti, the Ferrarese architect, had reared 
on the pattern of the summer-house in her mother's 
garden, and the Boschetto which she had planted in 
the year her father died. Here was the sumptuous 
marble fountain, with its reliefs and statues, designed 
by the Lombard sculptor who had wrought Beatrice's 
tomb, and the loggia where Castiglione loved to 
linger on summer evenings, and the green lawns 
and quiet places which soothed the sorrows of the 
good Dominican scholar who was torn away from 
his beloved books. Here, too, was the shady grove 
of plane trees on the banks of the rushing stream, 
where Bandello loved to sit on the fine short grass 
telling his stories to princes and humanists, while 
Isabella and her ladies rested in the hot noontide. 
Here were the sylvan arbours and Arcadian haunts 
sung by Niccolo Libumio, the parish priest of S. 
Fosca in Venice, who dedicated his pastoral poems 
to the Marchesa. ** I sing the praises of the de- 
licious gardens of Porto, green with perpetual ver- 
dure, musical with the voice of waters, glowing with 
luscious fruits and sweetest flowers."^ They were 
dead and gone, those briUiant guests whose gay 
voices once woke the echoes of the rocks and filled 
the woodland glades with music and laughter. But 
the flowers which the Venetian poet had sung, the rare 
plants and choice exotics which Isabella had collected 
with so much pains and expense, were still the pride 
of the gardens. The grass was still as green and 
the sound of the running waters fell as pleasantly 
on the ear, as in the days when Elisabetta Gonzaga 
^ N. LiburniOj Le Selvette. 


and Emilia Pia walked hand-in-hand together under 
the trees. 

The Marchesa herself took great interest in the 
practical side of gardening, and was careful to see 
that the fruit-trees were pruned and the box and 
yew hedges clipped at the proper season. She often 
sent her gardener to see the finest gardens in Venice, 
and occasionally allowed him, as a great favour, to 
give advice to her friends. In April, 1537, the old 
humanist, Trissino, wrote to tell Isabella of the 
neglected state in which he found his garden at Cricoli 
— '* A villa," he explained, " no farther from Vicenza 
than Porto is from Mantua" — and begged that her 
gardener might be allowed to come there for two or 
three days and teach him how to trim his box- 
trees and give him advice "as to many other things 
which the garden needs sadly." The Marchesa 
graciously complied with her old friend's request, 
and sent the gardener to Cricoli with the following 
note : " Dearest and Magnificent Friend, — My natural 
wish to oblige you renders me prompt to satisfy your 
prayer for a visit from my gardener. I send him to 
you to-day, only begging that, as soon as he has done 
what is necessary to your trees, you will send him 
back at once, because my place at Porto is in great 
need of him just now. Let me know if I can do 
anything else to help you." April 4, 1537. 

At the end of six days the gardener returned to 
Porto, bearing with him the following note from 
Trissino : " Most Illustrious and Excellent Lady,— 
The coming of Your Excellency's gardener has 
proved of the greatest value to me, especially as 
the weather has been very rainy of late. His advice 
has been of great use to my garden, which has been 


put into thorough order by the man whom he 
brought liere. For this I render you infinite thanks, 
because the greater the need, the more grateful and 
agreeable to me his visit has been. I know not what 
to give or offer you in return for your kindness in 
sending him so promptly ; but since myself and all 
that I possess have long been placed at Your Ex- 
cellency's service, I can only repeat that I hold 
myself ever at your disposal. I send back the 
gardener forthwith, so that your garden of Porto 
may no longer be put to inconvenience."^ 

^ B. Morsolin, G. G. l^iissino. 



Visit of Leonora, Duchess of Urbino to Mantua — Titian's portraits 
of the Duke and Duchess — Death of Francesco Maria — Of 
Francesco Sforza, Duke of Milan — Of Luigi Rodomonte and 
Antonia del Balzo — Visit of Pietro Bembo — The collections of 
the Grotta — Paintings and library of Isabella d'Este — Vittoria 
Colonna — Last visit of Isabella d'Este to Ferrara — Her love 
for her grandchildren — Duke Ercole lends her his palace at 
Venice — Her last illness and death — Her tomb in S. Francesco 
destroyed by the French — Death of Duke Federico — The 
Mantuan collections sold and the Castello sacked — Character 
of Isabella d'Este. 

In May, 1537, Leonora, Duchess of Urbino arrived 
unexpectedly at Mantua, to the great satisfaction of 
Isabella, who wrote on the 30th to tell her son, Fer- 
rante, that he alone of all her children was absent 
from this family meeting. " The news which I have 
to give you of myself to-day is that for the present I 
am quite well, and all the happier because I have the 
unexpected delight of enjoying the presence not only 
of Monsignore Reverendissimo (her son, Cardinal Er- 
cole), but of our dear Duchess of Urbino, who arrived 
here three days ago, and from what she says herself, 
as well as from her appearance, seems to be in the 
best of health." 

Leonora came from Venice, where her husband had 
just been appointed Captain-General of the combined 
armies of the Emperor, the Pope, the Signoria, and 
was to lead the forces of the League against the 



Turks. Here the Duke and Duchess both sat to 
Titian for the noble portraits which may be seen 
to-day in the Uffizi, and which Pietro Aretino cele- 
brated in two sonnets addressed to Vittoria Colonna. 
Both paintings are masterpieces of their kind, and the 
olive tones of Francesco Maria's face, his martial air 
and gleaming armour form a fine contrast to his 
wife's refined grace and rich brocades. Here at least 
there is no attempt to hide the ravages which time 
and trouble had wrought on Leonora's once lovely 
face. The charms and graces of youth are gone, and 
the Duchess, we are reminded, is already a grand- 
mother and a matron of seven - and - forty years. 
Within a year she was a widow, for on the 22nd of 
October, 1538, Francesco Maria died very suddenly 
at Pesaro. 

Death, which had already carried off most of 
Isabella's contemporaries, was now busy with the 
younger generation. On All Souls' Day, 1535, 
only a year and a half after his marriage, her nephew 
Francesco, Duke of Milan, died and the grave closed 
over the last prince of the great house of Sforza. 
Nearer home, among the Gonzaga princes, there 
had of late been many deaths. The venerable 
Antonia del Balzo had already lost two of her 
sons, the brave Federico da Bozzolo and Pirro, 
who, with his wife, Camilla Bentivoglio, had long 
held a brilliant court at Gazzuolo. A sadder and 
more unexpected blow was the death of the gallant 
Luigi Rodomonte, who died at Vicovaro in Decem- 
ber, 1532, of a wound received in fighting against 
the Orsini, leaving one child of a year old. This 
little boy, the sole issue of his father's romantic 
marriage, bore his grandfather's name of Vespasiano, 


and afterwards became famous as the ruler of Sab- 
bioneta, where the splendour of his court rivalled 
that of Mantua, and won for this little city the title 
of the new Athens. The loss of her beloved grand- 
son in the flower of his age was a grievous blow to 
Luigi's aged grandmother. She never rallied fiom the 
shock, but lingered on till the summer of 1538, when 
she passed away at the great age of ninety-seven, 
deeply lamented by the subjects over whom she had 
reigned so long, and widely honoured as the mother 
of a long Une of heroic sons and beautiful daughters. 

The Duchess of Urbino left Mantua in June, 
1537, and never saw her mother again. Soon after 
her departure, Isabella received a visit from an old 
friend, whom she had not seen for many years. This 
was none other than Pietro Bembo, the last survivor 
of the old Urbino group. The distinguished human- 
ist, who now rarely left the sweet solitude of his 
country home, and preferred watching the swallows 
circling in the blue air and the tender green of the 
climbing vines to all the pomp of the Imperial Court, 
came to Mantua once more that summer. "The 
Magnifico Bembo has arrived here," wrote the 
Castellan, Gian Giacomo Calandra, "to pay his 
respects to the Duke, and visit Madama Illustris- 
sima, and to see all their Excellencies' fine places." ^ 

After his return to Padua, Bembo wrote to tell 
the Duchess of Urbino how much he had missed 
her at Mantua, where he spent five or six days 
very happily with the Marchesa, seeing all the 
wonderful new halls and paintings of the ducal 
palaces. There was much to excite his admiration, 
both in the Castello itself and in the Duke's new 

1 V, Cian in Giom. Ster., 1887, 


Palazzo del T^, with all Messer Giulio's frescoes 
and decorations. There was the Palazzina, where 
the young Duchess lived, and the superb Sala di 
Troja, which Messer Giuho had just completed in the 
new wing of the Corte Vecchia, and for which Titian 
was painting his great series of the Twelve Caesars. 
There were the Marchesa's own rooms, the new 
apartment of the Paradiso with its charming decora- 
tions, and the lovely view over the lakes and the 
green slopes of Virgil's home. And there was the 
fair Cortile of the Grotta, with its slender marble 
columns and pavement of majolica tiles, each with 
a separate device and meaning, and the adjoining 
Studio with its priceless treasures of painting and 
sculpture. Many were the new pictures and marbles 
which the Marchesa had to show her old friend, 
many the precious objects with which she had 
enriched her collection since the first visit which 
Bembo had paid to Mantua thirty years before. 
Here, in marked contrast to the noble severity of 
Mantegna's grisailles and the classical beauty of his 
Parnassus, were the graceful allegories of Correggio, 
with their softly-rounded forms and dainty grace, 
the last word which the Renaissance had to say 
before the fatal age of decadence set in. Here 
were the brightly-coloured dreams of Lorenzo Costa, 
the old Court-painter, who had only ended his long 
life two years before, and the Holy Family by his 
fi'iend, Gian Bellini, and those quaint fancies in 
which the Ferrara master, Dosso Dossi, seems 
to have caught the very breath of old romance. 
Here above all were Titian's magnificent creations, 
those unrivalled portraits, and splendid array of 
Holy Families and Saints, painted in the same 


glowing colours, with the same exquisite landscapes, 
bounded by the far blue peaks of Cadore. Here, 
side by side with Mantegna's beloved Faustuia, and 
the Greek marbles which Fra Sabba had collected 
on his distant cruises among the isles of the Ionian 
seas, were the antiques which Isabella herself had 
rescued from the wreck of Rome, and the sleep- 
ing Cupid which had come to take its place by that 
other famous putto which Michelangelo's hands had 
fashioned, and Ceesar Borgia had sent to Mantua. 
Here, too, among the thousands of gold and silver 
medals, of Greek and Roman coins, and engraved 
gems which were arranged in cases and cabinets 
along the walls of the Grotta, Bembo saw Cristo- 
foro Romano's medal of Isabella herself, as he re- 
membered the Marchesa in the flower of youth 
and beauty. This admirable work is still preserved 
in the Imperial Gallery at Vienna, with the same 
rich setting of enamel and precious gems that is 
described in the Inventory of 1542, where it is men- 
tioned among the goods contained "in the middle 
cabinet in the Grotta of Madama, in the Corte 
Vecchia," as follows : " A gold medal with Her 
Highness's efligy when she was young, bearing the 
word Isabella in letters of diamonds, with rosettes 
of red enamel, and a border of blue and white 
enamelled rosettes, and on the reverse a figure of 
Victory in relief." ^ 

Somewhere too, among the pictures hung on the 
walls of the Castello, Bembo found his own portrait 
set in a small frame of carved walnut, side by side 
with those of his old master. Pope Leo X., and the 
German reformers, Martin Luther and Erasmus of 

1 V. Cian in Giom. Stor., 1S87. See vol. i. p. 170. 

[Photo, Fremi, Mantua. 


[To face p. 378, vol. ii. 


Rotterdam.^ This curiously assorted group of por- 
traits is mentioned in an Inventory of Duke Fe- 
derico's pictures found at Casale after his death, 
and probably belonged to his mother, who had been 
intimate with at least two of the group, and had 
heard much of Luther and Erasmus from her 
friend Chiericati. 

But paintings and sculpture were not the only 
treasures which Isabella's Grotta contained. There 
was the alabaster organ which Castighone had 
sent from Rome with so much toil and trouble. 
There were Lorenzo da Pavia's viols and lutes of 
inlaid ivory and ebony, and her sister Beatrice's 
sweet-toned organ, and Caradosso's wonderful ebony 
inkstand, adorned with silver statuettes and re- 
liefs. There were antique bronzes, figures of ala- 
baster and jasper, cabinets of porphyry and lapis- 
lazuli, Murano glass of deHcate tints and rare 
workmanship, precious vases, such as these which 
Isabella asked Leonardo to choose from Lorenzo 
dei Medici's collection, and crystal mirrors set in 
rubies and diamonds and pearls, one of which was 
valued at the enormous sum of 100,000 ducats.* 

Of still greater interest in the Venetian scholar's 
eyes were the rare books and manuscripts in the Mar- 
chesa's hbrary of the Grotta. Her own love for these 
had never changed, and only a year before, she had 
succeeded in obtaining a copy of the history of 
Josephus in the original from Venice. How eagerly 
Bembo's eyes must have scanned the shelves where 
his own Asolani stood among the presentation copies 
of works by Uving poets, the Orlandos of Ariosto and 

1 V. Cian, op. cit. 

2 D'Arco, Arte e Artefici, vol. ii l6l. 


Boiardo, the sonnets and canzoni of Pistoja and 
Niccolo da Correggio ! V\^ith what keen delight he 
must have turned over the pages of illuminated 
manuscripts of Petrarch and Boccaccio, and examined 
these curious Books of Fortune and Dreams on which 
the cultured ladies of those days set so much store 1 
He must have looked with even greater reverence 
on the rare copy of Eustathius which Pope Clement 
VII. sent to borrow in 1525, because the Greek 
scholar Lascaris had told Alberto Pio that Isabella's 
manuscript was the most correct version in existence.^ 
The Revelations of St. Bridget and Prayers of St. 
Catherine were probably less to the scholar's taste, 
but we wonder if he paused to glance at Savonarola's 
Sermons, or at the Commentary on the Fifty-first 
Psalm which the gi-eat Dominican had written in 
prison.^ More familiar to Bembo's eyes were the 
Aldine classics, which had been mostly produced 
under his own direction, and of which the Mar- 
chesa we know possessed a complete set. Here too 
was her choice collection of French and Spanish ro- 
mances, and of Latin translations from Greek authors. 
Among these Bembo found the famous Icones of 
Philostratus which had supplied the greatest Vene- 
tian painters with subjects for some of their finest 
works, and which Isabella lent to her brother 
Alfonso, when Titian was painting his Bacchanals 
in the Castello of Ferrara. In the same haU 
Bembo saw the terrestrial and celestial globes which 
had been made after the pattern of those in the 
Vatican library, and the Mappamondo which con- 
tained the latest discoveries of Columbus and 

1 Bibliufilo, i. 26. 

2 Ibid., ix. 71-86. 


Vasco da Gama, as well as Pigafetti's still more 
recent account of Magellan's expedition. Here too 
he found the collection of poems on the death of Isa- 
bella's pet dog Aura, to which so many of his Roman 
friends had contributed sonnets and epigrams, and 
the latest volumes of Pasquino's witticisms in prose 
and verse, which the Marchesa had received from 
Rome. So wide and varied were the contents of 
this Hbrary which Isabella had collected during 
the last fifty years, and which it was her delight 
to study with scholars as learned as Bembo. How 
they must have talked — this accomplished lady 
who had acquired the reputation of speaking Latin 
better than any other woman of her day, and 
the old humanist whom she loved "as dearly as a 
brother." What memories of the past they must 
have summoned up as they sat together among 
their favourite books and pictures in the cool halls 
of the Grotta and the Paradiso, or spent the long 
summer evenings in the green shades of beautiful 
Porto I How many famihar names must have been 
recalled — how many vanished faces must have risen 
before their eyes, as they looked back on the old 
days, and the great age which was fast passing away 1 
They may have met once more in the autumn of the 
following year at Venice, but if Bembo never saw 
Isabella d'Este again, the memory of this last visit to 
Mantua made a deep impression on his mind, and in 
a letter which he wrote soon afterwards to her son. 
Cardinal Ercole, he pronounced the illustrious Mar- 
chesa to be at once the wisest and most fortunate of 
women. ^ 

Another old friend of Bembo spent that summer 

^ V. Cian, op. cit. 


at Ferrara, and was iirirently pressed by the IMarehesa 
and her sons to visit Mantua. This was Vittoria 
Colonna, who came to visit Duchess Ren(5e, and 
stood sponsor in June to her new-born daughter, the 
Leonora of Tasso's love.i One great object of the 
Marchesa di Pescara's journey was to introduce the 
gi-eat preacher Fra Bernardino Ochino to her friends 
at Ferrara, and to obtain Duke Ercole's protection 
for his new Order of Reformed Friars. In Lent, 1535, 
Agostino Gonzaga had sent Isabella a long letter 
from Rome, describing the enthusiasm which the 
Friar's sermons were exciting in Rome. " He is a 
man of most holy life himself, and his sermons are all 
devoted to the exposition of the Gospels. His whole 
object is to teach men how to walk in the steps of 
Christ, and he has the most admirable fervour, as well 
as a most perfect voice. He is not afraid of saying 
what is good for his hearers, and aims his rebukes 
chiefly at those in high station, so that all Rome 
flocks to hear him. The Reverendissimo Medici is 
never absent from his sermons, and most of the 
Sacred College are to be seen here. My Reveren- 
dissimo (Ercole Gonzaga) has been here twice, and was 
beyond measure delighted with the sermons which he 
heard, so I think he will continue to attend the 
course." In the same letter Agostino tells Isabella 
*• that the Marchesa di Pescara is always present at 
these sermons, and is living in seclusion with the 
Sisters of S. Silvestro, receiving no visits, and wearing 
the humblest of habits, and is so devoted to religious 
exercises that it is expected she will soon take the 
veil."* Vittoria Colonna wrote herself to Ercole 

^ Frizzi, Storia di Ferrara, iv. p, 321. 
2 Luzio, liivista Mantovana, i. 26. 


Gonzaga from Ferrara, asking him to give his 
sanction to the new Order founded by Fra Ber- 
nardino, in whose teaching she saw " a return to the 
true and holy life of St. Francis." On the 18th of 
June the young Cardinal answered her letter, begging 
her to come to Mantua, and assuring her that she 
would find far more spiritual and temporal delights in 
this city than at Ferrara. There is a hospital Delia 
Misericordia, which would, he is certain, abundantly 
satisfy her charitable zeal, and the Duke and all his 
family would rejoice to welcome her. Besides 
which, he continues, '* this city is more Imperial in 
its sympathies than the Emperor itself, and more 
devoted to the Marchese del Vasto than any other in 
Lombardy, all of which seems to claim the honour of 
your presence. And I can promise you the company 
of my two sisters, who are nuns, in whose society 
you will find as much consolation as you would have 
found in the company of the Holy Women who 
stood at the foot of the Cross on Calvary." In a 
postscript, the writer adds " that in his joy at the 
thought of seeing her, and his longing to enjoy her 
sweet conversation, he sees that he has forgotten to 
answer her question about Fra Bernardino." ^ 

Another inducement which Ercole held out to 
the Marchesa di Pescara, was the prospect of the 
Council which Pope Paul III. had summoned to 
meet in that city. But the Duke afterwards raised 
objections, and the idea was eventually abandoned. 
Vittoria, on her part, intended to visit Venice, and 
had dreams of a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, or to 
the shrine of St. Mary Magdalene in Provence, but 
in the end she remained with her beloved Duchess 

^ G. Campori, Alti e Meinurie, iii. pt. ii. p. 8. 


at Ferrara. That Lent, Fra Bernardino Ochino 
preached a course of sermons in the Duomo, and 
within the last few months Ren^e had received both 
Clement Marot and Calvin at her court, but now 
Duke Ercole, in his anxiety to distract his wife's 
thoughts from these subjects, gave a series of fetes 
and tournaments in honour of his illustrious guests. 
Another very different lady, Tullia, the illegitimate 
daughter of the Cardinal of Aragon, was also at 
Ferrara that summer, and charmed all the Este 
princes as she had charmed the Cardinals in Rome 
and the ambassadors of the Imperial Court at Bologna. 
Ippolito dei Medici wrote sonnets in her praise, and 
all the wits and scholars of the day were at her feet. 
Stabellino's letters to Isabella are full of Tullia's 
charms. " Your Excellency," he wrote in June, 1537, 
"will have heard that a noble Roman lady, called 
Signora Tullia, is spending some months here. She is 
very gentle, discreet and clever, and endowed with the 
rarest gifts of body and mind. She sings all manner 
of songs, reads music at sight, and her conversation 
is altogether unique, while her manners are so 
charming, that there is neither a man nor a woman 
here who can hold a candle to her, not even the 
Most Illustrious Marchesa di Pescara. This lady 
knows everything, and is ready to talk with others 
on any subject they may choose. Her house is fuU 
of the most learned men, and the doors are open to 
all, but she is abundantly supplied with money and 
jewels, and has in fact everything that she requires." ^ 
Vittoria Colonna was still at Ferrara when, after 
Christmas, Isabella paid her usual visit to Ercole's 
court, and attended the Carnival fetes. On the 23rd 

^ Luzio, Eivista MaiUovana, i. 33. 


of February, 1538, she took leave of her hosts, and 
the Cardinal of Ravenna, Benedetto Accolti, wrote 
the following letter to Ercole Gonzaga : — 

" This morning, the Signora Marchesa di Pescara 
started for Bologna, to the incredible grief of His 
Excellency the Duke, of myself, and of the whole 
city. We have indeed been divinely entertained by 
her presence, and can only comfort ourselves with the 
promises which she has made to return before long. 
Last night we enjoyed a rare treat. The Duke and 
I, as well as the Marchesa, supped with your most 
Illustrious Mother, and after supper the Marchesa 
read us five sonnets of her composition, which were 
so beautiful that I do not think an angel from heaven 
could have written anything more perfect. After 
these recitations, which gave us all infinite pleasure, 
the ladies of Madama, your mother, appeared, and 
with them Signora Anna, who played some pieces 
on the graviccmhalo excellently. Then Morgantino 
came in with Deha, and jumped and danced together, 
and did great things with their little persons. 
Signora Anna then joined them, and danced several 
dances alia gagliarda, which gave the Marchesa di 
Pescara, and the Duke, and every one, the greatest 
pleasure. We were all of us convinced, that if the 
Goddess Nature herself had danced before us, she 
could not have danced in more perfect time, and with 
more exquisite grace." ^ 

Signora Anna was the Duke's six-year-old daugh- 
ter, the bright and intelligent httle girl who resembled 
her great aunt so strongly,and had evidently inherited 
the Marchesa's musical tastes. All Duchess Renee's 
children were trained to act and dance before the 

^ G. Campori, Atti e Memorie, iii. pt. ii. p. 12. 
VOL. II. 2 B 


illustrious guests who visited their father's court. 
When, a few years later, Pope Paul III. came to 
Ferrara, they acted a Latin comedy, the Adelphi of 
Terence, for the amusement of His HoUness, Anna 
taking the lover's part on this occasion, and her 
youngest brother Luigi, a child of four, appearing in 
the part of a slave. ^ 

Soon after this festive evening, which had given 
her guests so much pleasure, Isabella returned to 
Mantua and spent the summer quietly at home. 
We catch one pleasant glimpse of her in a letter 
addressed to Duke Federico, in which she dwells 
with all a grandmother's delight on the charms and 
cleverness of his children. 

"I have just returned," she wrote, "from my 
villa at Belfiore, where I spent some days, with the 
greatest benefit to my health. I may say, indeed, 
that having gone there seriously indisposed, I have 
returned by the grace of God in good health. 
Yesterday I went to the Castello, and visited the 
Illustrious Duchess, your wife, and my daughter, 
whom I found together with the Marchese and the 
other princes in the best of health. All I saw there 
gave me the greatest pleasure and amusement. The 
Marchese, who is growing up beautiful as a flower, 
recited thirty or forty lines from Virgil, in the pre- 
sence of his mother the Duchess, with a grace and 
clearness which were simply amazing I I saw Signor 
Gughelmo, with his fat baby-face looking as innocent 
and as merry as possible, and both he and his sweet 
sister Donna Isabella are in my eyes a picture of all 
the joys the world can give."^ Two years later, the 

^ Frizzi, op. cit, 

' Luzio e Renier, Giom. Slor., 1899, p. 36. 


little JVIarchese, Francesco, who could repeat Virgil 
at the age of five, succeeded his father as Duke 
of Mantua, In 1549 he married the Archduchess 
Catherine of Austria, a niece of Charles V., but died 
a few months afterwards, from a fever brought on by 
falhng into the lake when he was shooting wild-fowl 
from a boat."^ Isabella, who was born in April, 
1537, became the wife of Francesco d'Avalos, while 
her brother Guglielmo, then an infant of a few 
months, grew up to manhood, and reigned long and 
gloriously over the realm of the Gonzagas. 

Already Isabella d'Este watched her eldest son's 
failing health with anxiety, and in a letter to her old 
friend Trissino, who had begged her intercession on 
behalf of two gentlemen of Verona, she speaks of the 
Duke as seriously indisposed and unable to attend to 
business. A month later she persuaded him to ac- 
company her to Venice for change of air, and gladly 
accepted Ercole d'Este's offer of his palace on the 
Grand Canal, which he placed at her disposal during 
the next two months. This fine old house, where 
Beatrice d'Este once spent a joyous May-time, had 
been thoroughly restored and sumptuously decorated 
for the reception of Duchess Ren^e when she went 
to Venice in 1534, and Isabella was delighted with 
the prospect of occupying this magnificent palazzo. 
" We are coming to Venice," she wrote to Benedetto 
AgneUo on the 23rd of September, "to spend all 
October there for our amusement, and our nephew 
the Illustrious Duke of Ferrara has kindly placed his 
house at our disposal until November."^ 

The Marchesa, indeed, was so happy at Venice, 

1 Litta, Famiglie, iii. tav. 5. 

2 V. Cian, op. cit. 


and was so warmly welcomed and honourably enter- 
tained by her friends in this city, that she prolon<^ed 
her stay there until the end of November. But 
the weather broke up before she left, and the 
journey back to Mantua proved too much for her 
failing strength. On the 29th, she wrote to her 
widowed daughter Leonora : " My return from 
Venice took place in very rough weather, and has 
caused some disturbance in my system, so that until 
now I have not ventured to leave my room, and am 
still in some pain." That Advent, Vittoria Colonna's 
friend, Fra Bernardino Ochino, preached a course 
of stirring sermons at Mantua, but Isabella was 
unable to be present. These gastric pains, which 
had been the cause of her mother's death, continued 
to trouble the Marchesa throughout the winter, and 
in January she found herself still too unwell to pay 
her yearly visit to Ferrara. But she longed for 
news of her dear ones in the old home, and listened 
eagerly to the letters which told her of the Duke 
and Duchess and their little daughter Anna. On 
the 18th of January, Stabellino wrote to ask after 
her health, and told her of the latest Carnival fetes : 
" Here we are enjoying tournaments and masquerades 
and banquets. Last night the Cardinal of Ravenna 
entertained the Duke and most of the Court at the 
Schifanoia Palace. A very amusing farce by Stras- 
cino was performed, after which there was dancing 
up till ten o'clock." ^ 

So Isabella drew slowly to her end, retaining full 
possession of all her faculties, and hearing with delight 
of pleasures which she could no longer share. She 
followed the parting injunctions of her old favourite, 

^ Fontana, op. ciL, p. 89. 


Matteo Bandello, the Dominican story-teller, and 
lived joyously to the last. Four years before, she 
had made her last will, in which not only her children 
and ladies-in-waiting, but all her servants and depen- 
dants were thoughtfully remembered. Even her pet 
dwarfs, Morgantino and Delia, were affectionately 
commended to the care of the Duke and Duchess, 
and provided with a yearly allowance of fifty ducats 
if they would not or could not remain in her son's 
service. Now she took a tender farewell of the 
children she had loved so well, and on the night of 
the 13th of February her great soul passed away. 

"On the 13th of February, 1539," writes the 
chronicler of the Franciscan convent, "there died 
in Mantua, Madama Isabella d'Este, or rather, it 
should be said, her soul took flight to its eternal 
rest. She had always been devout and humble in 
her lifetime, and on her deathbed she begged that 
she might be buried privately, and without any 
pomp, in the grave of her husband in Santa Paola. 
This was done, with the tears and lamentations of 
all the people."^ 

The great Marchesa was buried by her husband's 
side in the Cappella dei Signori, in the Church of 
S. Francesco, sometimes called Santa Paola, from 
the neighbouring convent founded by the Marchesa 
Paola, where Isabella's own daughter had taken 
the veil. Duke Federico ordered a noble tomb to 
be raised to his mother's memory in the sepulchral 
chapel of the Gonzaga princes. Before it was com- 
pleted, the Duke himself died, at his favourite villa 
of Marmirolo, on the 28th of June, 1540, leaving 
his little son Francesco to the guardianship of his 

^ Donesmondi, Storia Ecclesiastica di Mantova. 


brother, Cardinal Ercole, and his wife Margherita. 
He was buried, according to his last wishes, by his 
mother's side, in S. Francesco. But when, in 1797, 
the French took INIantua after a long siege, the 
church, which contained more than 300 monuments of 
the Gonzagas and other noble families, was pillaged. 
Then the frescoes and paintings which adorned its 
walls were ruined, the tombs were broken in pieces, 
and the ashes which they contained were scattered 
to the winds. To-day this once stately shrine, so 
rich in historic memories and treasures of art, has 
been converted into a barrack school, and no trace of 
Isabella d'Este's last resting-place can now be seen. 

The Castello suffered terribly at the hands of 
the German soldiers who were sent against Duke 
Carlo I. by the Emperor Ferdinand II. in 1630, 
and who sacked Mantua during three whole days. 
A short time before, Vincenzo II. had sold the bulk 
of his splendid gallery to our King Charles I., while 
the paintings by Mantegna, Perugino, and Costa, 
which adorned Isabella's Grotta, were bought soon 
after the siege by Cardinal Richelieu. The beautiful 
apartments which Isabella planned and adorned with 
so much taste were stripped of their decorations, 
and the priceless works of art which they contained 
were all scattered abroad. The small number which 
escaped destruction passed into foreign galleries, and 
a few scanty fragments of painting and carving, with 
here and there a device or inscription bearing her 
name, are the only traces of Isabella's presence that 
now remain in Mantua. 

Fortunately, the greater part of her correspon- 
dence has survived the general wreck, and forms a 
record of more than common value. These pre- 


cious manuscripts of the Archivio Gonzaga give us 
a faithful picture of a period that must be for ever 
memorable in the history of the human race. And 
they reveal, with a fulness that leaves nothing to 
be desired, the character of a woman who was in 
a remarkable degree typical of the age in which 
she lived. Both in her faults and in her virtues, in 
her noble aims and generous ambitions, in the 
doubtful methods by which she strove to attain 
her ends, and in her easy toleration of vice and 
falsehood, Isabella d'Este was the child of her 
times. She did not share the mystical tendencies 
of her kinswomen, Vittoria Colonna and Ren^e de 
France ; she belonged rather to the earlier genera- 
tion, which took the facts of life more simply, and 
accepted the faith of the Church without question- 
ing, if without enthusiasm. But a strong sense of 
duty, a passionate devotion to home and kindred 
governed her actions, and kept her in the right 
way. Her nature was singularly complete and 
well-balanced, and it may be said with truth that 
she saw life steadily, and saw it whole. In her 
radiant vitality and keen enjoyment of living, in 
her worship of beauty and wide culture, in her serene 
temper and stainless purity, this great-souled lady 
remains for us the noblest and most perfect type of 
the Italian women of the Renaissance. 

Postscript. — Whilst these pages were going to press the 
missing portrait of Federico Gonzaga, painted by Francia in 
July 1510, when he was a boy of ten,i has most unexpectedly 
come to light, and was exhibited at the Burlington Fine Arts Club 
in 1903. This picture, which Mr. Herbert Cook was the first 
to identify (see Atheticeum, February 7, 1903), is the property of 

^ As described iu vol. i. p. 380, 


Mr. A. W. Leatham, whose father purcliased it from the Napoleon 
Collection. It is in remarkably good {)reservation, and there can 
be no doubt that it is the work of Francia. Isabella's son is repre- 
sented holding a dagger in his hand, and wearing a black doublet 
over a white frilled chemisette, and a black cap set jauntily on 
one side of his head, with a red riband fastened with the same 
carved gold medallion — perhaps Caradosso's work — which he wore 
when Raj)hael painted his portrait two years later in Rome. The 
brown eyes and bright, intelligent face bear a marked likeness to 
his mother, and the long fair hair has evidently been darkened, 
as was done, we know, at the Marchesa's request, and still shows 
traces of the original blond hue underneath. The graceful land- 
scape background is in Francia's usual style ; the lights in the 
foliage are heightened with gold, and the want of elaboration in 
the details bears witness to the amazing rapidity with which the 
portrait was painted. We are reminded of Isabella's words to 
Casio : " It could not be better or more like hira than it is, and 
I marvel that in so short a time the master could do so excellent 
a thing, but it is clear that he wished to show all the perfections 
of his art." The long-lost portrait, we know, left Mantua a year 
and a half later, and probably remained at Ferrara until it was 
brought to France among Napoleon's spoils. By a strange coin- 
cidence it has been recovered, at the end of four hundred years, 
only a few months after Titian's portrait of Isabella herself has 
once more been brought to light. 

February 7, 1908. 


ACCOLTI, Bernardo, ii. 10. jSe« Aretino 

Accolti, Pietro, created Cardinal, ii. 

Acerra, Isabella del Balzo, Countess 
of, i. 91. See Balzo 

Adorno, Governor of Genoa, i. 64 ; 
portrait of, ii. 283 

Adria, Bishop of, i. 194 

Adrian "VI. elected Pope, ii. 196 ; sur- 
render of the duchv of Urbino, 
198 ; his reforms, 223 ; unpopu- 
larity, 223 ; joins the league 
against France, 231 ; death, 232 

Adriana, Madonna, i. 205 

Aff5, Vita di Luigi Jiodomonte, ii. 
308 n. 

Agnello, Benedetto, on Titian, ii. 
327 ; on his picture of the Mag- 
dalen, 328 ; on the floods, 342 

Agnes, Church of St., ii. 59 

Agnesina, Madonna, i. 181 

Albano, baths of, ii. 344 

Albano, Piero, i. 75 

Albano, Taddeo, i. 75, 78, 360, 389 

Alberi, Relazioni Venete, ii. 125 n. 

Alberino, Marcello, on the revels held 
on May-day, ii. 246 ; Diarii, 246 n. 

Alberti, Leo Battista, dedication of 
his " Treatise on Painting," i. 20 ; 
his architectural designs, 26 ; at 
Mantua, 34 

Albret, Charlotte d', her marriage, i. 
152 ; betrothal of her daughter, 

Aldine Classics, ii. 21 

Alexander VI. , Pope, presents Fran- 
cesco Gonzaga with the golden 
rose, i. 137 ; on the marriage of 
his daughter, 192 ; his illness, 253; 
death, 253, 256 

Alidosi, Cardinal, ii. 36 

Aliprando, ii. 214 

Altamura, Pirro, Prince of, i. 47 

Alvarez, Grand Marshal Don, ii. 299 

Alvisi, Ccesar Borgia, i. 232 n. 

Amadori, Alessandro, i. 326 

Amboise, Cardinal d", i. 152, 178 

Amboise, Charles d', i. 284 

Amboise, Georpje d', i. 255 

Amboise, ii. 125 

Ambrogio, Messer, i. 4 

Amedei, the Mantuan Chronicler, i 

Ancona, i. 108, 138 

Ancona, D', Originidel Teatro Italiano, 
i. 87 n., 262 n., 264 n., 271 n., 287 n. ; 
ii. 82 «., 132 n., 188 n., 291 n,, 349n., 
363 n. 

Andes, i. 22 

Andrea, Church of S., i. 26 

Andreassi, Osanna dei, the Domini- 
can nun, i. 79 ; prophetic gifts, 79. 
See Osanna 

Andreassi, Paolo, ii. 327 

Angeli, Teodora degli, i. 58 

Anichino, his genius for engraving 
gems, i. 74 

Anjou, Charles of, L 47 

Anspach, i. 29 

Antimaco, the Chancellor, i. 127 

Apuleius's poem, L'Asino d'Oro, i. 41 

Aquapendente, i. 249 

Aquila, Messer Sebastiano d', ii, 1 

Aragon, Federico of, ex - king of 
Naples, i, 235 

Aragon, Ferdinand of, in possession 
of Southern Italy, i. 263 

Aragon, Infanta Giulia of, her be- 
trothal, ii. 326, 330 ; marriage, 351 

Aragon, Isabella of, i. 150; ii. 114; 
at Mantua, i. 154 

Aragon, Tullia of, at Ferrara, ii. 384 

Archano, Girolamo, ii. 97 

Arco, D', Arch. St. It., i. 166 n., 199 
n. ; ii. 75 n., 129 n., 238 n., 321 n. ; 
Arte t Artefici, i. 158 n., 290 n., 
291 n., 293 n., 328 n., 353 n., 364 n.; 
ii. 6 n., 206 n., 230 n., 274 n., 379 n.; 
Notizie d'lsahdla d'Este, i. 17 n., 
46 n., 236 n., 247 n., 252 n., 271 n., 
272 n., 27 i n., 281 n., 314 n.; ii. 
115 n., 194 n., 267 n., 344 n. 

Aretino, L'Unico, practical joke on, 
ii. 10 ; his vanity, 110 ; trick upon 
him, 111 

Aretino, Pietro, ii. 245 ; portrait of, 
283 ; Lettere, 350 n. ; sonnets, 376 

Arezzo, surrender of, ii. 295 

Argentina, Madonna, i. 279 

Ariosto, Messer Lodovico, i. 82, 205 ; 
his elegy on the death of Duchess 
Leonora, 103 ; at Mantua, 293 ; his 




Orlando Furioso, 203, ii. 34fi ; sent 
to appease the Pope, 63 ; Cassaria, 
293 ; bis death, 347 

Aristotle, portrait-medal of, ii. 370 

Armagh, ii. 177 

Armaria, Bernardus del, i. 289 

Armellini, Cardinal, at the siege of 
Rome, ii. 259 

Ars, Mons. Louis d', i. 185 ; his defeat 
at Cerignola, 250 

Asola, ii. 27 

Asolo, i. 224 

Assisi, i. 109, 180 

Asti, i. 113; ii. 6i, 1.35 

Astorga, Marquis, ii. 299 ; at the 
coronation of Charles V., 313, 315 

Astrology, belief in, ii. 33 

Atella, surrender of, i. 136 

Atri, Jacopo d'. Count of Pianella, i. 
84 ; letter to, 91 ; on the statue to 
Virgil, 174 ; presented with a medal 
of Isabella d'Este, ii. 12 ; on the con- 
trast between the Queen of France 
and the Italian princesses, 39 

Aubigny, Mons. d', at Mantua, i. 112 

Augsburg, i. 24 

Aura, death of the dog, ii. 55 

Aurelio, Zoan, his verses, ii. 29 

Austria, Margaret of, ii. 293 

Auton, Jean d', i. 296 

AuTergne, Madeleine de la Tour d', 
ii. 159. See Caterina dei Medici 

Avalos, Alfonso d', Marchese del 
Vasto, ii. 311. See Vasto 

Avignon, ii. 124 

Babsso, Alessandro da, i. 120, 166, 
217,237; ii. 143 

Baglioni, Giov., surrender of, i. 246 

Bagnolo, treaty concluded at, i. 2 

Baldo, Monte, ii. 107 

Balzo, Antonia del, i. 282 ; ii. 94, 134 ; 
her marriage, i. 47 ; intimacy with 
Isabella d'Este, 48 ; her taste for 
French romances, 77 ; death of her 
husband, 140 ; marriage of her 
daughter, il. 147 

Balzo, Isabella del, Countess of 
Acerra, i. 91 ; ii. 306 

Bandello, Matteo, i. 135 ; ii. 135, 140 ; 
at the Dominican convent of Man- 
tua, 141 ; his gift of story-telling, 
141 ; relations with Isabella d'Este 
and pictures of the Court, 142-150 ; 
testimonial of his character, 150; 
oration in memory of the Marquis 
of Mantua, 151 ; condolences, 152; 
Novelle, 203 n., 217 n. ; on the evil 
influence of Isabella Boschetti, 240 

Barbarigo, Agostino, Doge of Venice, 
i. 100 

Barbaro, Zaccarla, i. 58 

Barbo, Messer Paolo, i. 223 

Barcelona, entry into, ii. 182 ; Treaty 
of, 293 

Bardi, Giovanni dei, on the discovery 
of the New World, i. 95 

Bari, Duchess of, i. 48. See Beatrice 

Bari, Francesco, Duke of, popularity 
with the Milanese, ii. 93 

Barone, the jester, i. 147 

Baschet, A., Aide Manuce, ii. 23 n., 
27 n. ; Archivio Oonzaga, i. 28 n., 
34 n., 40 n. ; Arch. St. It., ii. 245 n. 

Bavaria, Margaret of, her marriage, 
i. 30 ; appearance, 30 

Bavaria, Philip, Duke of, at the coro- 
nation of Charles V., ii. 315 

Bavaria, Sigismund, Duke of, i. 100 ; 
marriage of his daughter Margaret, 

Beccagnto, Alesaio, ii. 127 

Beccaro, Vittore, i. 390 

Belfiore, i. 2 

Bellay, Du, French ambassador at 
Rome, ii. 255 

Bellini, Gentile, i. 100, 341 ; his por- 
traits, 100 

Bellini, Giovanni, i. 163, 223; frescoes 
in the Council Hall at Venice, 100, 
ii. 229 ; on a map of Paris, i. 107 ; 
commission to paint a picture for 
the Grotta, 341 ; reluctance to 
undertake the Storia, 343 ; refusal 
to restore the money, 345, 349 ; 
order for a Nativity, 346 ; portrait 
of Loredano, 349 ; apology for his 
delay, 350 ; completion of the 
Nativity, 351 ; order for a Storia, 

Bellini, Jacopo, i. 2, 101, 341 

Bello, Francesco, the blind improvi- 
satore, i. 11, 47 

Belriguardo, i. 12, 265 

Beltraffio, i. 150 

Belvedere Apollo, ii. 45 

Belvedere Palace, ii. 287 

Belvedere, villa of, i. 265 

Bembo, Pietro, i. 49, 271; ii. 48; 
secretary to Pope Leo X., i. 269; 
sonnets, 272, 273 ; at Mantua, 272, 
ii. 376 ; letter to Isabella d'Este, i. 
273 ; his efforts to induce Bellini 
to paint a Storia, 354 ; his A$olani, 
ii. 13 ; on the presence of Isabella 
in Rome, 116 ; his devotion to 
Camilla Gonzaga, 247 ; tribute to 
the memory of Elisabetta, 250 ; on 
the ruin of Rome, 270 ; at Bologna, 

Benedetto. Convent of S., ii. 326 



Benintendi, Filippo, i. 279 

Bentivoglio, Alessandro, i. 374 

Bentivoglio, Count Annibale, i. 57, 71, 
112; his marriage, 13 

Bentivoglio, Messer Antonio Galeazzo, 
i. 372 

Bentivoglio, Giovanni, i. 13, 17 ; his 
flight, 284, 292 ; at Mantua, 292 

Bentivoglio, Laura, i. 148 ; her wed- 
ding, 58 ; on her visit to Lucrezia 
Borgia, 214 ; her death, ii. 232. See 

Bentivoglio, Lucrezia, i. 112, 205 

Bentivoglio, Violante, i. 374 

Berenson, B., i. 79 n. ; " The Draw- 
ings of Mantegna," 162 n. 

Bergamo, Fra Damiano da, ii. 320 

Bergenroth Calendar, ii. 195 n. 

Berghet, G., Funti Ital. per la Storia 
della Seoperta del Nuovo Mondo, i. 
96 n. 

Beroaldo, Filippo, his verses on the 
dog Aura, ii. 56 ; ode on Federico, 

Bert, Mons. Philippo, French Am- 
bassador, i. 204 ; entertained by- 
Isabella D'Este, 209; gifts to the 
bride, 211 

Bertolotti, A., Arch. St. Lomh., ii, 367 
n. ; Artisti bolognesi, i. 380 n. ; ii. 2 
n., 207 n., 366 «., 370 n. ; Za Nu^ca 
alia Corte dei Oonzaga, i. 10 n. 

Bettinelli, Abbot, on the Studio of 
the Grotta, i. 159 ; Delle lettere e d. 
arti Mantovani, ii. 274 n. 

Bianca, Empress, ii. 66 

Bibbiena, Bernardo Dovizi of, on his 
illness, ii. 37 ; on the charms of 
Leonora, 37 ; il bel Bernardo, 49 ; 
on Federico, 49; at the Congress of 
Mantua, 65 ; on the election of Leo 
X., 76 ; created a Cardinal, 78 ; his 
comedy Oalandria, 113, 188 ; letter 
to Isabella D'Este, 118-120 ; on the 
death of Castiglione's wife, 187 ; 
his death, 187 

Binasco, i. 239 

Bisceglia, Alfonso, Duke of, his mar- 
riage, i. 187 ; strangled, 187 

Bisignano, Prince of, ii. 115 

Bisignano, Princess of, i. 297, 298 

Blois, i. 152 ; ii. 125 

Boccaccio, his Becamerone, i. 26 ; 
romances, 76 

Boiarda, Alda, ii. 81 ; dismissal, 87 

Boiardo, Matteo, ii. 87 ; Orlando 
Innamorato, i. 11, 76 

Bologna, Alberto da, i. 63, 116, 162 

Bologna, Antonio da, i. 237 

Bologna, i. 34, 58 ; ii. 212 ; tourna- 
ment at, i, 71 ; visit to, 112 ; entry 

of Pope Julius II., 281, 291; 
captured by the French, ii. 52; 
besieged, 56 ; conference at, 297 ; 
state entry of Charles V. and Pope 
Clement VII., 298 

Bologna Museum, ii. 368 

Bologna University, deputation from, 
ii. 311 

Bolsena, ii. 110 

Bolzano, Vincenzo, i. 330 

Bonatti, Alessandro, ii. 6 

Bonnivet, at the siege of Milan, ii. 

Bonsignori, Francesco, i. 290 ; his 
altar-piece of the Vision of the 
Beata Osanna, 79 ; decorations at 
Marmirolo, 107 ; his portraits of 
Mattello, 134, Ferrante, 140, 
Pistoia, 391 

Bordoni, his description of the Belve- 
dere Palace, ii. 288 

Borgia, Alexander, elected Pope, i. 

Borgia, Angela, i. 194, 196, 265; 
presented with a chain, 211 

Borgia, Caesar, his scabbard in niello, 
i. 73 ; created Duke of Valen- 
tinois, 152 ; his marriage, 152 ; 
appearance, 178 ; character, 178 ; 
influence over the Pope, 178 ; 
sponsor, 179 ; murders the Duke 
of Bisceglia, 187 ; conquest of 
Romagna, 187 ; his French allies, 
188 ; proposed betrothal of his 
daughter, 227 ; seizure of the 
Duchy of Urbino, 228; Duke of 
Romagna, 230; presents the statues 
of Venus and Cupid to Isabella 
d'Este, 232 ; welcome from Louis 
XII., 238 ; massacre of Sinigaglia, 
244 ; murder of his colleagues, 
245 ; congratulations on his suc- 
cesses, 248 ; present of masks, 
248; his letter of thanks, 249; 
attack of fever, 253 ; death of his 
father, 253 ; under the protection 
of the French army, 255 ; anxiety 
to conciliate the Pope, 260 ; arrest, 
261 ; his end, 261 ; attempt to 
escape from prison, 269 ; crimes, 
ii. 145 

Borgia, Donna Hieronima, i. 204 

Borgia, Lucrezia, dissolution of her 
marriage, i. 187; second marriage, 
187 ; murder of her husband, 187 ; 
proposed third marriage, 190; 
character, 190 ; contract, 191 ; 
dowry, 191 ; trousseau, 191; 
wedding, 194 ; journey to Ferrara, 
196, 200; reception, 200, 205; 
costume, 201, 204; appearance. 



202, 206 ; entry, 202 - 205 ; 
Ambassador's gifts, 211 ; her re- 
lations with Isabella d'Este, 215; 
children, 215; birth of a child, 
23G, ii. 158; letter of condolence 
on the death of the Marquis of 
Mantua, 157 ; death, 158 

Borgoforte, i. 270; ii. 140; sub- 
merged, 342 

Borromeo, Count Achilles, i. 224 

Borso, i. 2 

Boschetti, Isabella, her influence 
over Federico Gonzaga, ii. 189, 
239, 240; her portrait, 227; in- 
solence and hatred of the Duchess 
of Mantua, 345 

Bosco, Church of S. Michele, ii. 

Bosio, Hieromino, i. 368 

Bossi, Matteo, Abbot of Fiesole, i. 

Botticelli, Sandro, i. 330 

Bourbon, Due Charles de, i. 297; 
ii. 233, 244; Imperialist general, 
255 ; refuses to accept terms, 255 ; 
resumes his march across the 
Apennines, 255 ; at Viterbo, 255 ; 
advances against Rome, 255 ; de- 
mands a free passage to Naples, 
256 ; at the siege of Rome, 258 ; 
death, 259 

Bourbon, M. la Batard de, i. 119; 
taken prisoner, 120; sent to Man- 
tua, 120 

Bozzolo, Federico Gonzaga of, ii. 
123, 132, 147, 148, 244 ; at Viterbo, 
265 ; his death, 375 

Bozzolo, Gianfrancesco of, his death, 
i. 140 

Bozzolo, Lodovico di, ii. 148 

Bozzolo, Pirro di, ii. 147, 148 ; his 
death, 375 

Bozzolo, principality of, i. 37 

Bracciano, fortress of, i. 250 

Braghirolli, W., Archivio Veneto, i. 
342 n. ; Oiorn. di Erud. Art., 90 
n., 127 n. ; ii. 281 n. ; Romania, 1. 
20 n. 

Bramante, ii. 44 

Brandenburg, Albert von, i. 29 ; at 
Bologna, ii. 302 

Brandenburg, Barbara von, her mar- 
riage, i. 24; letter to her son, 32; 
death, 38 

Brasca, Erasmo, i. 149 

Brescia, races at, i. 63 ; tournament, 
144 ; taken, ii. 56 

Brescia, Vincenzo of, ii. 349 

Brewer, Letters, ii. 195 n. 

British Museum, ii. 368 

Brittany, Queen Anne of, i. 79 

Broccardo, Antonio, on Pomponazzi's 

last moments, ii. 220; at Ilologna, 

Brogna, maid-of-honour to Isabella 

d'Este, i. 72 
Brognina, ii. 81 ; her flirtations, 83, 

86, 124 ; dismissal, 87 ; resumes 

her post, 243 
Brognolo, Lodovico, sends Isabella 

d'Este a cameo, ii. 5 
Brognolo, Zorzo, i. 54, 121, 141 ; com- 
missions from Isabella d'Este, 73, 

Brosch, Papst Julius, ii. 42 n. 
Brunellesco, i. 20 
Brunoro, Count, ii. 82 
Buonacolsi, defeated, i. 19 
Buonamici, M. Lazzaro, tutor to 

Ercole Gonzaga, ii. 215 
Burgundy, Charles the Bold, Duke 

of, i. 29 

Cagli, i. 229 

Cagnino, Gianfrancesco, ii. 334 

Cagnolo, on the appearance of 

Lucrezia Borgia, i. 206 
Caiazzo, Count of, ii. 334 
Calabria, Alfonso, Duke of, i. 93 ; his 

wedding, 32 
Calabria, i. 128 ; war in, 136 
Calandra, Gian Giacomo, ii. 144, 148 ; 

on Mantegna's bust of Faustina, i. 

365 ; librarian to the Marchesa, 

ii. 21 
Calandra, Ippolito, on the exile of 

the Duke of Urbino, ii. 127 ; on the 

addition to the Castello, 337; list 

of pictures, 338 
Calandra, Silvestro, i. 42, 67 
Calcagnini, Celio, i, 205 ; his oration 

on Ercole Strozzi, 312 
Calmeta, i. 170, 187 
Calvi, Fabia, ii. 61 
Calvin, at Ferrara, ii. 290, 384 
Calvisano, Count of, ii. 189 
Cambray, League of, ii. 31 ; Treaty 

of, 293 
Camera degli Sposi, i. 106 ; ii. 172 
Camerino, Duchess of, ii. 366 
Camerino, Giovanni Maria da, ex- 
pedition against, i. 228 ; flight, 246 
Campeggio, Cardinal, his commission 

from the Pope, ii. 287 ; at Bologna, 

Campori, G., Attie Memorie, ii. 383 n., 

385 n. ; Notizie di Giovanni Santi, 

i. 112 n. ; Notizie di Raffadlo, ii 

160 n., 169 n. 
Canary Islands, ii. 226 
Canneto, i. 48 ; Rocca of, 154 
Canossa, Count, i. 224 



Canossa, Lodovico da, i. 267 ; ii. 160 

Canossa, Simone da, chamberlain to 
the Duke of Calabria, i, 93 

Cantelma, Margherita, i. 280, 282; 
ii. 1 ; her illness, 3 ; on Trissino's 
RitraUi, 103; her death, 344; be- 
quest, 344 

Cantelmo, Sigismondo, on the theatre 
at Mantua, i. 183-185 ; recitations, 

Capello, Alvise, I. 218 

Capello, Filippo, i. 222 

Capello, Francesco, i. 58, 98 

Capello, Paolo, i. 138, 197 

Capilupi, Benedetto, i. 103, 146, 217 ; 
on Elisabetta Gonzaga's wedding, 
44 ; her ill-health, 45 ; on the 
reception of Isabella d'Este at 
Milan, 114 ; on her interview 
with the "Venetian envoys, 212-214; 
on the grief of the Duchess of 
Urbino, 308 ; on the story of 
Tarquin and Lucrezia, ii. 142 ; his 
death, 158 

Capua, Isabella of, ii. 345 ; her mar- 
riage, 308 

Caradossa, his bowl and inkstand, ii. 
2 ; relief, 206 

Caravaggio, Marquis of, i. 374 

Caravazo, Fermo, i. 51 

Cardinals, new, appointed, ii. 256 

Cardona, Raymond de, Viceroy of 
Naples, besieges Bologna, ii. 56 ; 
at the Congress of Mantua, 65, 94 ; 
at Milan, 81 

Carew, Nicolas, on the desolation of 
Italy, ii. 272 

Carlo I., Duke, ii, 390 

Caroto, his portrait of Elisabetta, i. 391 

Carpaccio, his paintings, ii. 229 

Carpi, seizure of, ii. 48 

Carreto, Galeotto di, ii. 135 

Casale, i. 198, 200; ii. 135, 334 

Casale, Gregory, ii. 259 

Casalmaggiore, ii. 94, 147 

Casio, Girolamo da, i. 375, 379 ; his 
sonnet on Leonardo da Vinci's 
cartoon, 320 ; letters on Costa and 
Francia, 375, 381 ; list of articles 
procured for Isabella, ?,%% ; his 
epitaph on Cristoforo, ii. 13 ; re- 
ceives the laurel crown, 311 

Casola, on the interview between 
Isabella d'Este and the Bishop of 
Gurk, ii. 51 

Castelfranco, Zorzo da, i. 389 ; his 
picture of a Notie, 390 

Castello, CittJv di, seized, i. 244 

Castelromano, ii. 27 

Castiglio, Guglielmo di. Captain of 
Sal5, ii. 100 

Castiglione, Baldassarre, i. 49, 152; 
settles at Urbino, 270 ; forbidden 
to visit Mantua, 270 ; his marriage, 
ii. 131 ; on the story of Tarquin 
and Lucrezia, 142; on Raphael's 
design for the Marquis of Mantua's 
tomb, 160 ; his efforts to obtain a 
picture by Raphael, 163 ; on the 
trial of Longueil, 166 ; his in- 
fluence at the Vatican, 185, 224 ; 
death of his wife, 185 ; loyalty to 
Duchess Elisabetta, 190 ; on the 
death of Leo X., 191 ; election of 
the Pope, 194 ; on the restoration 
of the Duke of Milan, 199 ; his 
letters from Rome, 206 ; in Venice, 
228 ; on the league against France, 
231 ; his mission to Madrid, 236, 
241 ; on visiting the shrine of S. 
Jacopo di Galicia, 241 ; his death, 

Castiglione, Ippolita, her death, ii. 

Castiglione, Sabbh, da, i. 82, 133, 164 ; 
ii. 297 ; on the island of Rhodes, 
14 ; his literary pursuits, 15 ; 
Academy, 16 ; permission to search 
for ancient treasures, 16 ; illness, 
18 ; recalled to Rome, 19 ; ap- 
pointed Prior of a house of Knights 
of S. John, 19 

Castiglione, i. 37 

Castiglione di Arezzo, Imperial camp 
at, ii. 295 

Cattaneo, Federico, on the murder 
of the Duke of Bisceglia, i. 187; 
on the preparations for Lucrezia 
Borgia's wedding, 191; on the death 
of the^Pope, 253 ; the visit of the 
Duke of Urbino to Mantua, 310 

Cavriana, i. 26, 50, 310 ; villa of, ii. 

Cellani, Contessa di, ii. 150 

Cellini, Benvenuto, ii. 259 ; Tratiato, 
314 n. 

Ceresara, Federico, ii. 24 

Ceresara, Paride da, i. 162, 330; ii. 
149 : his fantasie, i. 372 

Ceri, Renzo da, in command of the 
papal forces, ii. 254 ; repulses the 
Imperialists, 254 ; levies troops, 

Ceri, fortress of, i. 250 

Cerignola, victory at, i. 250 

Cesi, Cardinal di, ii. 276 

Chalcus, T., Residua, i. 83 n. 

Charles I., King of England, his col- 
lection of pictures, ii. 162, 390 

Charles V., Emperor, at Reggio, i. 15 ; 
ii. 294 ; his birth, i. 178 ; succeeds 
the Emperor Maximilian, ii. 154; 



bis entry into Barcelona, 182 ; 
treaty with the Tope, 183, 185 ; 
alliance against France, '231 ; 
league against, 251 ; on the death 
of Castiglione, 271 ; lands at Genoa, 
294 ; his triumphal entry into Eo- 
logna, 297-300, 351 ; meeting with 
the Pope, 300 ; on restoring peace 
to Italy, 306 ; receives the Queen 
of Naples, a07 ; his marks of favour 
to the Marquis of Mantua, 309 ; 
pardons the Duke of Milan, 309 ; 
proclamation of peace, 310 ; con- 
fers privileges on the University 
of Bologna, 811 ; receives Vene- 
tian senators, 311 ; his courtesy 
and toleration, 312; receives the 
Iron Crown, 313 ; his coronation, 
314-317 ; banquet, 317 ; reception 
of the Duke of Ferrara, 320 ; state 
entry into Mantua, 323 ; accident 
out hunting, 324 ; creates Fede- 
rico, Duke of Mantua, 325 ; at the 
Convent of S. Benedetto, 326 ; de- 
parture, 326 ; gift of poems from 
Ariosto, 347 ; visit to Mantua, 349- 

Charles VIII., King of France, his 
proposals to the Marquis of Mantua, 
i. 113 ; enters Italy, 113 ; his defeat 
at Taro, 120 ; treaty of peace with 
the Duke of Milan, 123; his re- 
treat, 128 ; death, 149 

Chaumont, Mons. de, ii. 14 

Chester, ii. 177 

Chiaramonte, Count of, his banquet 
to Isabella d'Este, ii. 115 

Chiericati, Francesco, ii. 83 ; the 
papal Nuncio, 172; his "Treatise 
on the History of Castile," 173 ; in 
England, 173; his description of 
the court of Henry VIII., 173-176 ; 
experiences in Ireland, 176-180 ; 
impressions of, 180; on the sweat- 
ing sickness, 181 ; at Mantua, 182 ; 
Eome, 183 ; on the treaty between 
Charles V. and the Pope, 183 ; at 
the Diet of Niirnberg, 224 ; on the 
Lutheran movement, 224 ; on Ma- 
gellan's journey, 225 ; at the Vati- 
can, 247 

Chievres, Mons. de, ii. 183 

Chigi, Agostino, ii. 48, 58 ; his motto 
on the coronation of Leo X., 79 ; 
entertains Isabella d'Este, 112 

Childaria, Count of, ii. 180 

Chioggia, i. 98, 139, 218 

Cian, v., Oiorn. Stor., ii. 168 n., 376 
n., 378 n., 387 n. ; Nuovi documenti 
su Pomponaszi, 220 n. ; Un De- 
cennio, 305 n. 

Cibo, Cardinal, ii. 323 

Cingano, his performance on the rope, 

i. 212 
Ciocca, Luigi, i. 335; on Perugino's 

picture, 335 
Citarra or lute, i. 86 
Civita Vecchia, ii. 2G6 ; alum quarries 

at, 58 
Clement VII., Pope, i. 78 ; appoints 
Silvestri General of the Dominican 
Order, 276 ; elected Pope, ii. 232 ; 
his policy, 235, 238 ; sends Castig- 
lione to Madrid, 236 ; his anxiety 
to retain the friendship of the 
Marquis of Mantua, 245 ; negotia- 
tions with Lannoy, 254 ; signs a 
truce, 254 ; disbands his forces, 
254 ; implores the help of the 
Duke of Urbino, 255 ; appoints 
new Cardinals, 256 ; escape from 
Rome, 266; entry into Bologna, 
297-300 ; meeting with Charles V., 
300 ; celebrates mass at San Pe- 
tronio, 310 ; at the coronation of 
Charles V., 314-317; his death, 

Clerk, John, on the election of the 
Pope, ii. 195 

Clogher, ii. 177 

Cogo, Niccolo del, i. 57 

CoUenuccio, Pandolfo, i. 179 

Colleoni, Bartolommeo, i. 82 

CoUeoni, Cassandra, i. 82 ; death of 
her husband, 313 

Colocci, Angelo, ii. Ill ; bis book on 
the Limousin poets, 112 ; destruc- 
tion of his collection of antiques, 
270; at Bologna, 305 

Colombo, the antiquarian, ii. 275 

Colonna, Ascania, ii. 252 

Colonna, Fabrizio, i. 181 ; ii. 61, 115 ; 
taken prisoner, 57 

Colonna, Isabella, her betrothal, ii. 
307 ; marriage, 308 

Colonna, Marc Antonio, his epigram, 
ii. 144 

Colonna, Cardinal Pompeo, ii. 246 ; 
on his return to Rome, 264 

Colonna, Prospero, Imperialist gen- 
eral, ii. 190, 199, 279 

Colonna, Vespasiano, ii. 307 ; his wed- 
ding, 252 

Colonna, Vittoria, Marchesa di Pes- 
cara, i. 182, ii. 290 ; present of a 
picture from the Duke of Mantua, 
327, 330; congratulations on his 
marriage, 333 ; at Ferrara, 382 ; on 
Fra Bernardino Ochino, 382 

Columbus, return from his first voy- 
age, i. 94 

Comacchio, marshes of, i. 265 



Conclaye, meeting of the, i. 255, 258 ; 
ii. 75, 194, 232 

Contarini, Alvise, at Mantua, ii. 136- 

Contarini, Taddeo, i. 390 

Contarini, Zaccaria, i. 98 

Contarini, Zuan, at Mantua, ii. 136-138 

Contarini, Venetian ambassador, on 
Federico Gonzaga, ii. 123 ; at 
Bologna, 304 

ii. 191 

Contrari, Beatrice del, i. 52, 53 ; her 
letters to the Marquis, 55 ; illness, 

Cordova, Don Alonzo da, ii. 262 

Cordova, Gonsalvo di, i. 235 ; at Cala- 
bria, 188 ; his victory at Cerignola, 
250 ; arrests C^sar Borgia, 261 

Cornaro, Queen Caterina, i, 100, 224 

Cornaro, Messer Francesco, his com- 
mission to Andrea Mantegna, i. 
358, 371 

Cornaro, Giorgio, i. 139, 224 

Corneto, Cardinal Adriano da, i. 253 

Corpus Domini, convent of, i. 24 

Corradi, Girolamo, i. 290 

Oorreggio, Antonio AUegri, hia pic- 
ture of the Magdalen, ii. 281 ; 
allegories, 282 

Oorreggio, Borso da, i. 16 

Correggio, Galeazzo, his marriage, i. 

Correggio, Giangaleazzo, on his 
father's poems, i. 314 

Correggio, Niccolo da, i. 16, 81, 114 ; 
courtier and poet, 81 ; his faaie, 
82 ; serves in the wars against 
Venice, 82 ; taken prisoner, 82 ; 
his pastoral play Cefalo and other 
works, 82, 83 ; settles at Milan, 83 ; 
his devotion to Isabella d'Este, 83, 
168 ; mission to France, 83 ; his 
fable of Psyche, 84 ; silver lyre, 
85; his cantata " Mopsa and 
Daphne," 86 ; death of his mother, 
144 ; at Correggio, 167 ; his Latin 
motto, 168 ; at Ferrara, 168 ; son- 
nets, 168, 169 ; marriage of his 
son, 169 ; on the welcome by Louis 
XII. of Caesar Borgia, 238 ; on the 
quarrel between Ippolito and 
Giulio, 266 ; his death, 313 ; 
daughter, ii. 285 

Correr, Gregorio, Abbot of S. Zeno 
of Verona, dedication of his treatise 
De Pugiendo Sceculo, i. 23 

Corte, Castello di, i. 17; decoration 
of the rooms, 87 ; ii. 203, 204 ; the 
Paradiso, 205 

Cortoua, surrender of, iL 295 

Coss^, Andrea, ii. 30 

Costa, Lorenzo, i. 339; ii. 281; iinishes 

the Comus, i. 371 ; commission for a 

picture, 372; illness, 374; Triumph 

of Poetry, 375 ; at Mantua, 376 ; 

his decorations of the palace of St. 

Sebastian, 377 ; portraits, 377 
Costabili, M. Antonio di, i. 147, 179 
Costanza, chapel of S., ii. 59 
Costanza, Madonna, i. 310 
Cotrone, Marchesa di, i. 166, 217; on 

the appearance of Isabella d'Este, 

Covos, ii. 327 
Cracow, ii. 114 
Credi, Lorenzo di, 1. 278 ; his picture 

of the Magdalen, 389 
Creighton, "History of the Papacy," 

ii. 132 n., 251 n. 
Cremona, Giovanni da, on the ad- 
miration excited by Isabella d'Este, 

ii. 133 
Cremona, Zoan Petro da, i. 381 
Cremona, conference at, i. 39; French 

retire to, ii. 190 ; taken, 251 
Crevalcore, Antonio da, his picture of 

fruit, i. 389 
Oristoforo Romano, Giovanni, i. 164, 

166, 343 ; ii. 1-14. 
Orivelli, Lacrezia, i. 154 
Oroce, Giacomo Santi, imprisoned, 

i. 246 
Crogiolo or crucible, device of the, i. 

142, 165 
Crowe e CavalcaseUe, Titian^ ii. 228 n., 

327 n., 328 n., 333 n. 
Ornttwell, Miss, "Life of Mantegna," 

i 125 n. 
Cupid, statue of, i. 230-234 
Cusatro, Beltramino, i. 3 ; on the in- 
telligence of Madonna Isabella, 4 
Cyprus, Bishop of, i. 1 
Cyprus, Queen of, i. 139, 223 

Daino, G., Cronaca, ii. 156 n., 267 n., 

324 n. 
Davari, S., Arch. St. Lomb., ii. 338 n. ; 

II Matrimonio di Dorotea Gonzaga, 

i. 33 n. ; Lettere inedite di Pomponazzi, 

ii. 221 n. ; La Musica in Mantova, i. 

10 n., 81 n. ; ii. 135 n. 
Delia, ii. 81, 115 
Delia, the dwarf, ii. 363 
Denistoun, " Memoirs of the DukeB 

of Urbino," i. 229 «., 307 n. ; ii. 

132 n., 261 n. 
Denmark, Christina of, her wedding, 

ii. 361 
Denmark, Queen Dorothea of, 1. 28 
Derg, Lough, ii. 178 
Desenzaoo, i. 50 



Didot, A. F., Aide Manuce, ii. 2:i n., 

27 n. 
Diego, the Spanish court-jester, ii. 

Dolfo, Floriano, on the character of 

Isabella d'Este, i. 144 
Donatello, his bust of Lodovico, i. 2G 
Donesmondi, Storia Eccles. di Man- 

tova, i. 79 n., 177 n., 255 n. ; ii. 

3sy n, 
Doort, Van der, his catalogue of pic- 
tures, ii. 162, 357, n, 
Doria, Admiral Andrea, at Bologna, 

ii. 302 
DosBi, Dosso, i. 391 ; at Mantua, 391 
Down, ii. ISO 
Dromore, ii. 177 
Dublin, ii. 177 
Dandalk, ii. 177 
Durazzo, Guarino da, ii. 179 

Eastlake, Lady, ii. 250 

Egidio, Cardinal, ii. 183 

Egmont, Count, i. 152 

Equicola, Mario, i. 268, 277 ; ii. 149 ; 
on the appearance of Isabella 
d'Este, i. 9 ; his treatise, Nee spe 
nee vietu, 280 ; at Mantua, 282 ; 
secretary to the Marchesa, 283, 
ii. 159 ; his quarrel with Tebaldeo, 
87 ; verses against, 88 ; on the 
pilgrimage to Sainte-Baume, 133 ; 
on the story of Tarquin and 
Lucrezia, 142 ; on the improve- 
ments in the Castello, 207; his 
death, 241 

Erasmus, ii. 166 ; on the ruin of 
Rome, 270 

Este, Alberto d', 1. 16, 198 

Este, Alfonso d', Duke of Ferrara, 
i. 2, 15, 16 ; his marriage, 55 ; 
entry into Ferrara, 57 ; on a 
tournament at Bologna, 71 ; on 
the discovery of a new island, 71 ; 
death of his wife, 134, 143; his 
second marriage, 168, 190; in- 
vested with a consecrated cap and 
sword, 209 ; gift of a shield, 211 ; 
death of his father, 265 ; succeeds 
to the title, 265 ; character, 265 ; 
war with the Pope, ii. 47 ; retires 
to Ferrara, 57 ; in Rome, 61 ; visits 
the Sistina, 62; absolved by the 
Pope, 63 ; refuses his terms, 63 ; 
escapes from Rome, 63 ; his grief 
at the death of his wife, 158 ; de- 
signs of the Pope against him, 
189; his joy at the news of the 
death of Leo X., 191 ; recovers 
Reggio, 235 ; renewal of the alli- 
ance with Francis I., 286 ; wedding 

of his son, 286; entertains Charles 
v., 294; reception, 320; recon- 
ciliation with the Pope, 320; at 
Milan, 361 ; his death, 362 

Este, Anna d', her birth, ii. 360; 
resemblance to her great-aunt 
Isabella, 360, 361 ; her musical 
tastes, 385 

Este, Beatrice d', i. 3 ; her betrothal, 
5; portrnit, 12; wedding, 5,3, 55; 
illness, 64; birth of a son, 65; 
her death, 140. See Milan 

Este, Bianca d', i. 57 

Este, Camilla d', her marriage, i. 

Este, Duke Ercole d', birth of a 
daughter, i. 1 ; wars of his reign, 
2 ; peace and prosperity, 3 ; be- 
trothal of his daughters, 3-5 ; re- 
ception of the Marquis of Mantua, 
5 ; his devotion to classical studies, 
11 ; library, 11 ; country house, 12; 
court-painters, 12 ; marriage of 
his daughter Lucrezia, 13 ; his 
intervention on the question of 
Galeotto's dyke, 59 ; his meeting 
with Louis XII., 152 ; on the 
character of Lucrezia Borgia, 192 ; 
his gift to her of a casket of jewels, 
194; cost of the wedding festivi- 
ties, 198 ; failure of his health, 
2G4 ; death, 265 

Este, Ercole II. d', his marriage, ii. 
286 ; banquet, 292 

Este, Ferrante d', i. 16; at the 
wedding of Lucrezia Borgia, 192, 
194; conspiracy against his brother, 
266 ; imprisoned, '266 ; ii. 63 

Este, Giulio d', i. 200; his quarrel 
with Ippolito, 265 ; conspiracy 
against, 266 ; imprisoned, 266 ; 
ii. 63 

Este, Cardinal Ippolito d', i. 16, 147 ; 
at the wedding of Lucrezia Borgia, 
192, 194; his gift, 195; letter 
from Isabella, 230; his quarrel 
with Giulio, 265 ; his death, ii. 

Este, Ippolito d', Archbishop of 
Milan, ii. 288 

Este, Isabella d', i. 1 ; birth, 1 ; 
parents, 2 ; betrothal, 3, 38 ; in- 
telligence, 4; portrait, 4, 12, 91, 
150, 171, 377, 381-387; ii. 284, 
353-356 ; first meeting with her 
future husband, 5 ; at Modena, 5 ; 
appearance, 9, 46, 202; ii. 133, 
284 ; education, i. 9 ; tutors, 9 ; 
musical tastes, 10; her voice, 10; 
surrounded by works of art, 12 ; 
preparations for her marriage, 14 ; 



her girdle, 14; dowry, 15; cele- 
bration of the wedding, 15 ; 
banquet, 15; dinner-service, 15; 
ii, 368 ; entry into Mantua, i. 16 ; 
festivities, 17 ; absence of Andrea 
Mantegna, 17 ; her character, 47, 
49 ; ii. 391 ; intimacy with Antonia 
del Balzo, i. 48 ; relations with her 
husband's family, 48 ; affection 
for Elisabetta, 48, 67 ; excursions 
to the Lago di Garda, 50, 52 ; ii. 
363 ; blank of her departure from 
home, i. 51 ; letters to her tutors, 
51 ; visits to Ferrara, 52, 53, 65, 
112, 116, 140, 168, 182, 198, 251, 
:!12; ii. 267, 362, 384; attacks of 
fever, i. 52, 277, 354; ii. 4, 138; 
affection for her husband, i. 53 ; 
preparations for her journey to 
Milan, 54, 62 ; her sbernia or 
mantle, 54 ; the wedding of her 
sister Beatrice, 55 ; of her brother 
Alfonso, 55 ; at the Certosa of 
Pavia, 56 ; governs Mantua, 58, 
117, 243, 250 ; ii. 336 ; on Galeotto's 
dvke, i. 59; at Milan, 61-63, 114, 
295-301 ; ii. 80, 94, 108 ; reception 
at Genoa, i. 64 ; illness of her sister, 
64; her classical studies, 65-67, 
129; ii. 136 ; on the postponement 
of Elisabetta's visit, i. 67-69 ; cor- 
respondence, 70 ; orders for jewels, 
71 ; commissions, 72-75 ; want of 
money, 75, 365 ; ii. 130 ; raises 
loans, i. 75 ; intellectual interests, 
76 ; love of books, 76-78 ; relations 
with friars, 79 ; attachment to 
Osanna dei Andreasi, 79 ; interest 
in Genazzano and Savonarola, 80 ; 
in poetry, 80 : verses, 81 ; admira- 
tion for Niccolo da Correggio, 81 ; 
on his poem of Psyche, 84 ; on the 
loan of his silver lyre, 85 ; singing 
lessons, 86 ; decoration of her 
rooms, 87, 157; ii. 203-205; her 
studiolo, i. 88 ; threatens Liombeni, 
89 ; on the portrait of the Countess 
of Acerra, 91 ; on the birth of 
Beatrice's son, 96 ; regret at leaving 
Elisabetta, 97 ; at Venice, 97, 217- 
224 ; ii. 228, 234, 326, 344, 346, 
3^7 ; reception by the Doge, i. 
98-100 ; on the espousals of Venice 
with the sea, 100; her desire to 
have a portrait of the Doge, 101 ; 
at Padua, 101 ; return to Mantua, 
102, 112, 115, 214, 224 ; ii. 94, 117, 
268, 291, 321, 386, 388 ; at the 
Villa of Porto, i. 102; death of 
her mother, 103 ; birth of a 
daughter, 104 ; christening, 105 ; re- 


covery, 106 ; pilgrimage to Loreto, 
108 ; ii. 189 ; at Gubbio, i. 109 ; at 
Urbino, 109 ; Assisi, 109 ; on the 
palace of Urbino, 110 ; at Bologna, 
112; ii. 296 ; sympathies with the 
French, i. 113 ; on pledging her 
jewels, 116, 137 ; on the battle of 
the Taro, 118 ; pension, 121 ; 
anxiety for her husband, 122 ; 
on the Madonna della Vittoria, 
126 ; correspondence with Lorenzo 
da Pavia on a clavichord, 129-131 ; 
a lute, 131 ; frivolous amusements, 
133 ; her dwarfs and clowns, 133 ; 
on the death of Mattello, 134 ; her 
dogs and cats, 135 ; birth of a 
second daughter, 135 ; death of 
her sister, 140 ; at Verona, 142 ; 
treatment of her husband, 144 ; on 
the Duke of Milan's visit, 147 ; 
negotiations, 148 ; betrothal of 
her daughter, 148, 267 ; on pre- 
senting her portrait to Isabella of 
Aragon, 150 ; tendency to stout- 
ness, 151 ; attempts to conciliate 
the French, 152, 156 ; kindness to 
the Milanese exiles, 154 ; artistic 
interests, 157; her Studio of the 
Grotta, 158-160, 272 ; collection of 
works of art, 158, 317 ; ii. 5, 17, 
206, 377-379; painters and sculp- 
tors, i. 161-165, 170; her busts, 
165 ; portrait-medal, 166 ; on the 
Latin motto, 168, 280; poets, 168- 
170 ; her scheme for the erection 
of a statue to Virgil, 173 ; birth 
of a son, 177 ; carnival fetes at 
Mantua, 183 ; birth of a third 
daughter, 186 ; affection for her 
son, 186, 207 ; on the resistance of 
Faenza, 188 ; on the proposed mar- 
riage of her brother with Lucrezia 
Borgia, 190 ; the wedding festivi- 
ties, 198-207 ; first meeting with 
the bride, 200 ; entry, 202-205 ; 
reception, 205; comedies and plays, 
206, 210, 211, 251; ii. 82; impa- 
tience to return home, i. 208 ; 
entertains the French ambassador, 
209 ; interview with the Venetian 
envoys, 212-214 ; relations with 
Lucrezia Borgia, 215, 251, 315; her 
income and expenditure, 226 ; nego- 
tiations on the betrothal of her 
son, 227, 243 ; at Porto, 227 ; on 
the seizure of the duchy of Urbino, 
228 ; her request for the statues of 
Venus and Cupid, 230 ; fears fol 
her husband's safety, 236 ; letter 
from Queen Anne of Brittany, 
243 ; on the conquests and murders 

2 c 



of Caesar Borgia, 244-247 ; ber gift 
of masks, 248 ; congratulations on 
his successes, 248 ; death of her 
sister-in-law, 253 ; birth of a fourth 
daughter, 263 ; death of her father, 

265 ; inaprisonmentof her brothers, 

266 ; her perfumes, 2G9 ; abandons 
her jonrney to Rome, 269 ; visit of 
Pietro Bembo, 272 ; of Machia- 
velli, 274 ; on the appointment of 
her husband to the post of Cap- 
tain-general of the Republic, 274 
on the death of Suor Osanna, 275 
birth of a second boy, 277, 356 
at Florence, 278 ; silver effigy, 
279 : present of a treatise. Nee 
ape nee metu, 280 ; on restoring the 
Camera Dipinta, 285 ; relations 
with her husband, 288 ; on the 
copy of the Italia, 290 ; on the sus- 
picions of the Venetians, 291 ; the 
Pope's entry into Bologna, 291 ; 
birth of a third son, 293 ; on the 
visit of Ariosto, 294 ; reception by 
Louis XII., 297 ; on the French 
court, 298 ; invited to France, 303 ; 
her joy at the prospect, 304 ; death 
of her child Livia, 306 ; illness of 
her husband, 306 ; birth of her 
youngest daughter, 309 ; presents 
from the Duke of Urbino, 311 ; on 
the poems of Niccolo da Correggio, 
314 ; relations with artists, 317 ; 
Leonardo da Vinci, 317-328 ; her 
letter to Fra Pietro da Novellara, 
318 ; on Lorenzo dei Medici's vases, 
822 ; letter to Angelo del Tovaglia, 
323 ; to Leonardo, 324, 325 ; deal- 
ings with Perugino, 328-340 ; in- 
structions for the picture, 331- 
333; criticisms, 339 ; dealings with 
Giovanni Bellini, 341-352; satis- 
faction with his picture, the 
Nativity, 353 ; negotiations for a 
Storia, 353-359 ; on the sale of 
Vianello's cabinetto, 360 ; appeal for 
help from Mantegna, 364 ; buys his 
bust of Faustina, 367 ; employs 
Costa to finish the Comus, 371 ; 
directions for a picture, 374 ; por- 
trait of her son Federico, 379, ii. 
72 ; gift of Pistoja's poems, i. 387 ; 
presents portraits to Zaninello, 
388 ; her wish to possess Gior- 
gione's Notte, 390; on Caradosso's 
cup and inkstand, ii. 4 ; her letter 
to Cristoforo, 4 ; acquires the 
Cnpid of Praxiteles, 6 ; her practi- 
cal joke on Aretino, 10 ; her library, 
20, 379-381 ; the Aldine classics, 
21 26 ; present of books from Aldo, 

25 ; birth of a grandson, 29 ; im- 
prisonment of her husband, 32; 
belief in astrology, 33 ; efiforts to 
obtain his release, 34, 38; marriage 
of her daughter Leonora, 35 ; her 
presents to the Bishop of Gurk and 
the Queen of France, 39 ; on part- 
ing with her son Federico, 41, 44; 
on his education, 45 ; on the death 
of her dog Aura, 55 ; on the claims 
of Maximilian Sforza, 66 ; con- 
gratulations on the return of the 
Medici, 68 ; on the election of 
Pope Leo X., 77 ; her masked ball, 
83 ; defence of her conduct, 85 ; 
patience with her husband, 86; dis- 
missal of her maids of honour, 87 ; 
on the conduct of Tebaldeo, 87-91 ; 
atGazzuolo, 94; Goito, 95; Lonato, 
95, accidents, 98, 134 ; at Peschiera, 
99 ; the hola dei Frati, 100; Sal6, 
101 ; gift of Trissino's Ritratti, 102- 
105 ; at Grignano, 106 ; on the 
loyalty of the people, 106 ; accident 
to her page, 108; visits to Rome, 
110-113, 116, 244; at Naples, 114; 
Siena, 117 ; regrets at leaving 
Rome, 118-120; pilgrimage to 
Sainte-Baume, 133; visit of the 
Venetian ambassadors, 137 ; her 
courtiers and scholars, 149 ; regard 
for Bandello, 150; testimonial, 
150; letter of condolence, 151; 
death of her husband, 154 ; letters 
and visits of condolence, 157 ; 
death of her secretary Capilupi, 
158 ; appoints Mario Equicola, 159 ; 
requests Raphael to paint her a 
picture, 162-165 ; on his death, 
170 ; her wisdom and diplomacy, 
184 ; influence at the Vatican, 184; 
on the appointment of her son 
Federico to the post of Captain- 
General of the Church, 185; ad- 
vice to him on an alliance with 
Francis I., 193 ; congratulations on 
his victory, 200; affection for her 
nephew, Francesco Sforza, 201 ; her 
services to him, 203; decorations 
of the Corte Vecchia, 203-205 ; the 
Paradiso, 205 ; devices and mottoes, 
205, 240 ; efforts to obtain a Car- 
dinal's hat for her son, Ercole, 209, 
237, 248 ; on the choice of a tutor, 
210-212 ; on the journey of Ma- 
gellan, 226 ; on Titian's picture, St. 
Jerome, 229 ; death of her brother- 
in-law, and his wife, 232 ; her trials 
with Isabella Boschetti, 240 ; at 
Pesaro, 243 ; in the Colonna Palace, 
246 ; her grief at the death of 



Elisabetta, 249 ; refuses to leave 
Rome, 254 ; fortifies her Palace, 
256 ; at the siege of Rome, 258-262 ; 
at Ostia, 266 ; loss of her Roman 
antiquities, 274 ; dealings with 
Raphael of Urbino, 274-276; on 
Sebastiano del Piombi's portrait of 
her son Ercole, 278 ; pictures of 
Oorrege:io, 282; reception of the 
bride Reu^e, 287 ; her tolerance, 
290; religious views, 290; at 
Solarolo, 296; on the state entry 
and meeting between Charles V. 
and the Pope, at Bologna, 297-301 ; 
reception of Charles V., 324; on 
her son created Duke of Mantua, 
325 ; on Titian's picture of the 
Magdalen, 328, 329 ; betrothal and 
wedding of her son, Federico, 330, 
335 ; on the new Palazzina, 337 ; 
preparations for the bride's entry, 
340 ; signs of advancing age, 344 ; 
her will, 344, 389 ; at the baths of 
Albano, 344 ; death of her friend, 
Margherita Cantelma, 344 ; gift of 
poems from Ariosto, 346 ; Tasso, 
347 ; her portrait by Francia, copied 
by Titian, 353-356; by Rubens, 
856 ; family affection, 358 ; resem- 
blance to her great-niece, 360, 361 ; 
death of her brother Alfonso, 362 ; 
administration of Solarolo, 364 ; 
affection for her daughter, Leonora, 
365 ; her interest in embroideries, 
366 ; in the majolica of Urbino, 
367 ; love of antiques, 369 ; of 
nature, 370 ; her gardens at Porto, 
370-372 ; interest in gardening, 372 ; 
loss of relatives, 375 ; her death, 
376, 389 ; last visit to Ferrara, 384 ; 
affection for her grandchildren, 
386 ; failing health, 388 ; destruc- 
tion of her tomb, 390 

Este, Duke Leonello d', i. 2, his 
appearance, 3; on the advantages 
of Vittorino's instruction, 23 

Este, Duchess Leonora d', i. 1 ; birth 
of a daughter, 1 ; her delight at 
receiving Andrea Mantegna's Ma- 
donna, 8 ; favourite authors, 12 ; 
at the wedding of her daughter 
Beatrice, 54; at Pavia, 56; re- 
ception of her son Alfonso's bride, 
57 ; letters from Isabella, 71 ; on 
Genazzano'.s praise of her, 80; at 
Venice, 102; her death, 103; 
honours and tributes, 103 

Este, Leonora d', her birth, ii. 382 

Este, Lucrezia d', i. 57 ; her mar- 
riage, 13 ; on Francia's portrait of 
Isabella, 382-385 

Este, Duchess Lucrezia d', her wed- 
ding, i, 194 ; la Dim Borgia, 312 , 
relations with Isabella, 315. See 

Este, Lucrezia d', her birth, ii. 362 

Este, Niccolo d', his plot to seize 
the Duchess Leonora, i. 2 

Este, Polissena d', i. 58 

Este, Duchess Renee d', her wedding, 
ii. 286 ; reception at Ferrara, 287- 
289 ; appearance, 289 ; character, 

289 ; sympathy with the reformers, 

290 ; her costumes, 359 ; birth of a 
son, 359 ; birth of her daughters, 
360, 362, 382 

Este, Cardinal Sigismondo d', i. 116 

Evangelista, i. 149 

Eyck, Van, his pictures, i. 360 

Facing, Alfonso, ii. 191 

Faella, Giacomo, i. 166 

Faenza, ii. 36, 297 ; resistance of, i. 
188 ; surrender, 188 

Faenza, Antonio da, ii. 367 

Falcone, his comedy, "Gog and 
Magog," ii. 131 

Fancelli, Chiara, i. 339 

Fancelli, Luca, i. 26, 38, 328 ; on the 
discovery of the New World, 94 

Fano, i. 138 

Farnese, Cardinal, candidate for the 
Papacy, ii. 196 

Fedeli, Ercole, the goldsmith, i. 73 ; 
his gold and silver work, 73 

Felice, Madonna, ii. 8 ; her wedding, 
i. 268 

Feltre, Fra Bernardino da, i. 38 ; his 
funeral sermon on the death of 
Duchess Leonora, 103 

Feltre, Vittorino da, tutor to the 
Gonzaga princes, i. 21 ; his system 
of education, 21; pupils, 22-24; 
death, 28 

Ferdinand II., Emperor, ii. 390 

Ferrante II., King, his portrait, i. 150 

Ferrara, Duke Alfonso d'Este. See 

Ferrara, Fra Francesco da, Vicar- 
General of the Dominican Order, 
ii 139 ; at Mantua, 140 ; on the 
palace of Porto, 140 ; Prior of bis 
Order, 140 

Ferr.ira, Feast of St. George at, i. 4, 
116, 140 ; a centre of art and learn- 
ing, 11 ; wedding at, 15 ; banquet, 
15 ; fetes at, 57, 306 ; ii. 286 ; 
comedies and plays, i. 182, 206, 210, 
211, 251, 264; sights of, 207; 
single combat, 210; plague, 288; 
campaign against, ii. 50 ; cession 
of, 63 ; papal intrigues against, 94 



Ferrato, P., Dd Viaggio, ii. 3G3 n. ; 
Lettere inedite di Donne Mantovane 
dd Sccolo, i. 98 n. ; Lettere di Princi- 
pesse di Casa Gonzaga, 287 n. 

Fetti, Fra Mariano, at the carnival in 
Kome, ii. 70 ; keeper of the Papal 
Seals, 70 ; devotion to the Marquis 
of Mantua, 70 

Fiera, Battista, i. 173 

Fierabraccio, romances of, i. 76 

Fiesole, ii 125 

Filelfo, tutor to Federico Gonzaga, 
i. 20, 28, 40 

Flaminian Way, i. 229 

Florence, visit to, i. 278; excluded 
from the League, ii. 310 ; surrender 
of, 326 

Foix, Gaston de, sacks Brescia, ii. 56 ; 
invades Romagna, 56 ; killed, 57 

Foix, Germaine de, i. 302 ; on the 
medal of Isabella d'Este, ii. 12 

Folengo, Sigismondo, Podestk of 
Mantua, ii. 156 

Foligno, i. 196 

Fondi, i. 138 

Fontana, Renata di Francia, ii. 287 n, ; 
Een^e de France, ii. 321 n., 331 n. ; 
SuW Immortalitcb, ii. 221 n. 

Fontainebleau, ii. 286 

Forli, Madonna of, i. 105 

Forno, Gianfrancesco, ii. 218 

Fornovo, battle of, i. 29, 118, 124 

Fossa, Torre della, i. 200 

Fossombrone, ii. 11 

Fracassa, Signor, i. 50, 154 

France, League against, i. 115 ; ii. 
231 ; armistice with Venice, i. 138; 
treaty with Venice, 151 

France, Anne de Bretagne, Queen of, 
her offer to help the Duchess of 
Urbino, i. 240 ; letter to Isabella, 
243 ; her coronation, 268 ; present 
from Isabella, ii. 39 ; on accom- 
panying the King to Italy, 40 

France, Princess Ren(^e de, her mar- 
riage, ii. 286 

Francesca, Piero della, i. 2 ; his fres- 
coes, 12 ; altar-piece, 229 

Francesco, Fra, ii. 149 

Francesco, Church of S., sepulchral 
chapel of the Gonzaga princes, ii. 
389 ; pillaged by the French, 390 

Franchetti, Baron, i. 371 

Francia offers to paint a picture for 
Isabella d'Este, i. 378; his frescoes 
in the Chapel of St. Cecilia, 378; 
portrait of Federico, 379-381 ; of 
Isabella, 381-387 ; ii. 354 

Francis I., his accession, ii. 120 ; at 
Milan, 123 ; on the Italian fashion 
of dress, 124; curiosity to see 

Brognina, 124 ; his friendship for 
Federico Gonzaga, 192 ; lays siege 
to Milan, 232, 238 ; lays siege to 
Pavia, 238 ; his defeat and capture, 
244 ; release, 251 ; renewal of the 
alliance with the Duke of Ferrara, 

Frederick II., Emperor, i. 30 

Fregoso, ii. 152 

Frescoes of the Camera degli Sposi, 
i. 35 

Friars Minor, island of the, ii. 100 

Frisio, Niccolo, i. 292 ; on recovering 
busts, 293 

Fritello, the dwarf, i. 52, 134 

Frizzi, Sioria di Ferrara, i. 2 n., 265 
n. ; ii. 382 n. 

Frundsberg, ii. 253 ; at Ferrara, 254 

Furlo Pass, i. 229 

Gabbioneta, Archdeacon, ii. 215 

Gabriele, M. Zoanne, i. 222 

Gadio, Stazio, ii. 6, 44 ; on the illness 
of the Pope, 54, 72; on the carnival 
at Rome, 70 

Gaeta, surrenders, i. 188, 263 

Galasso, the French clown, i. 134 

Galicia, S. Jacopo di, his shrine, ii. 

Gallerani, Cecilia, i. 154, 171; ii. 141; 
her portrait, i. 341 

Galley-slaves, ii. 59 

Gallino, Jacopo, tutor to Isabella 
d'Este, i. 9 ; on her departure, 51 

Gambara, Brunoro, Imperial Cham- 
berlain, ii. 304 

Gambara, Gianfrancesco, ii. 280 

Gambara, Uberto, Governor of Bo- 
logna, ii. 298, 304 

Gambara, Veronica, ii. 82, 102, 280 ; 
on Correggio's Magdalen, 281 ; at 
Bologna, 304 

Gangelian Gulf, ii. 226 

Garda, Lake of, i. 22 ; ii. 191 ; visits 
to, i. 50, 52 ; ii. 363 

Garigliano, battle of the, i. 263 

Gattinara, Cardinal, Imperial Chan- 
cellor, ii. 310; on the sack of Rome, 

Gayangos, " Spanish Calendar of 
Letters," ii. 251 n. 

Gaye, Carteggio d'Artisli, i. 231 n., 
200 n., 3o4 n; ii. 274 n., 328 n,, 
341 n. 

Gazzuolo, i. 37 ; ii. 94 

Genazzano, i. 257 

Genazzano, Fra Mariano da, his ser- 
mons, i. 80 ; on the intelligence of 
Isabella d'Este, 80 

Genoa, ii. 135, 294; visit to, i. 64; 
siege of, 295 ; surrender, 295 



Genua, i. 220 

Germain, St., ii. 286 

Ghiar' Adda or Vaila, ii. 31 

Ghisi, Carlo, ii. 274 

Ghisoli'o, Bernardo, i. 125 

Ghivizzano, i. 240 ; on the election of 
the Pope, 255 

Gianfiancesco I., Prince of Mantua, 
i. 19 ; his library, 20 

Gianf rancesco II. , Marquis of Mantua, 
i. 20 ; his reforms, 20 ; patron of 
learning, 20 

Giberto I., lord of Correggio, ii. 280 

Giers, Marechal de, i. 152 

Giorgio, Bishop Giovanni, Marquis of 
Montferrato, ii. 331 

Giorgio, San, bridge of, i. 20 

Giorgione, his death, i. 389 ; his pic- 
tures, 390 ; ii. 229 

Giotto, i. 1 ; his frescoes, 109 

Giovio, Paolo, i. 88, 280; ii. 148, 259; 
Delle Impresse, 205 n. ; on the 
death of Adrian VI., 232 ; on the 
device adopted by Isabella, 240 ; at 
the Vatican, 247 ; Vita P. Colonna, 
259 n. ; loss of his MSS., 270 ; at 
Bologna, 304 

Girardo, i. 192 

Giustinian, A., Dispacci, i. 249 n. 

Giustiniani, Marcantouio, amount of 
his ransom, ii. 264 

Giustizia, Palazzo della, ii. 239 

Gnoli, D., Giudizio, ii. 167 n. 

Goito, i. 26, 50 ; ii. 95 

Goldschmidt, M. Leopold, ii. 285 n. 

Golfo, Sigismondo, i. 66, 186 

Gonzaga, Agostino, ii. 162; on the 
sermons of Fra Bernardino Ochino, 

Gonzaga, Alessandro, i. 23 ; ii. 143 ; 
his character, 233 ; at the siege of 
Rome, 261 

Gonzaga, Barbara, her character, i, 
28 ; encouragement of the cloth 
manufacture, 28 ; love for her 
adopted country, 29 ; her daughters, 
31-33 ; on the meeting between 
Dorotea and Galeazzo, 32; death, 
38. See Brandenburg 

Gonzaga, Madonna Camilla, ii. 94, 
243. 305; her wedding, 147; in 
Rome, 247 

Gonzaga, Carlo, i. 3, 24 

Gonzaga, Cecilia, pupil of Vittorino, 
i. 23 ; her learning, 23 ; enters the 
Convent of Corpus Domini, 24; 
her death, 24 

Gonzaga, Cesare, settles at Urbino, 
i. 270 ; on duty at Modena, 271 

Gonzaga, Chiara, Duchess of Mont- 
pensier, her marriage, i. 38; at 

Mantua, 43, 113, 121, 128; death 
of her husband, 140; her death, 
253. See Montpetisier 

Gonzaga, Dorotea, her deformity, i. 
31 ; betrothal, 31, 33; death, 33 

Gonzaga, Elisabetta, at Ferrara, i. 8 ; 
confirmation, 8; delicacy, 38; be- 
trothal, 42; affection for her brother 
Francesco, 43 ; journey to Urbino, 
43 ; reception, 44 ; wedding, 44. 
See Urbino 

Gonzaga, Ercole, his birth, i. 277; 
consecrated Bishop, ii. 209 ; re- 
ception at Bologna, 213-215 ; his 
tutors, 215 ; studies, 216-218, 219 ; 
amusements, 218 ; attack of ague, 
219 ; affection for Pomponazzi, 220, 
221 ; appointed Cardinal, 256, 267 ; 
his poi-trait, 278 ; love of art and 
letters, 279; on the cast of a por- 
trait-medal of Aristotle, 370 

Gonzaga, Federico, his marriage, i. 
30 ; Marquis of Mantua, 37 ; death 
of his wife, 37 ; of his mother, 38 ; 
love for his daughters, 38 ; absence 
from Mantua, 38 ; employment of 
Andrea Mantegna, 40 ; death, 41 

Gonzaga, Federico, Duke of Mantua, 
his birth, i. 177 ; christening, 178 ; 
godfathers, 178 ; proposed be- 
trothal, 227 ; portrait, 379-381 ; 
ii. 53, 72-74, 161, 339; sent to 
Rome as hostage, 44 ; lodged in 
the Belvedere, 44 ; his education, 
45 ; life in Rome, 46 ; liberality, 
47 ; at Bologna, 47, 309 ; Urbino, 
48 ; Ostia, 54 ; his influence over 
the Pope, 54, 58 ; visits the 
churches, 58; on the death of the 
Pope, 75 ; permission to return 
home, 75 ; his character, 121 ; edu- 
cation, 121-123 ; Pt Milan, 123 ; at 
the French court, 124 ; his acci- 
dent, 134 ; betrothal, 135, 326, 333 ; 
succeeds to the title, 156 ; ap- 
pointed Captain-General of the 
Church, 185, 198, 231 ; at Venice, 
188, 387; his devotion to Isabella 
Boschetti; 189, 239, 240; in com- 
mand of the papal troops, 190 ; 
captures Milan, 190 ; negotiations 
with Francis I., 192 ; defence of 
Pavia, 199; letter to his cousins, 
203 ; return to Mantua, 234 ; breaks 
off his engagement, 240 ; on the 
death of Giovanni delle Bande 
Nere, 253 ; his architectural works, 
273 ; created Duke of Mantua, 309, 
325 ; preparations for the visit of 
Charles V., 309, 317 ; reception of 
him, 323; renewal of his suit to 



Maria Paloologa, 332; at Casale, 
334; his wedding, 334-33G ; col- 
lection of pictures, 339; claims 
Montferrato, 3ijl; Vjirth of a son, 
351 ; failing health, 387 ; deuth 

Gonzaga, Ferrante, his birth, i. 293; 
his abilities, ii. 237 ; in Spain, 241 ; 
joins the Imperialists, 255 ; at the 
siege of Rome, 260; meeting with 
his mother, 2G2 ; on her escape 
from Rome, 2G9; marches against 
Florence, 295; at the Imperial 
camp, Castiglione di Arezzo, 295 ; 
on the surrender of Cortona, 295 ; 
strength of his forces, 295 ; matri- 
monial schemes, 807 ; marriage, 
308, 345 ; in command of the Im- 
perial armies, 326 ; commission to 
Titian, 327-330; betrothal, 330; 
demands for money, 345 

Gonzaga, Francesco, Marquis of Man- 
tua, his betrothal, i. 3, 38 ; at Fer- 
rara, 5, 8 ; attentions to his bride, 
6 ; gift of a picture by Mantegna, 
6-8 ; on the visit of Lorenzo del 
Medici, 39 ; character, 41, 46 ; re- 
gard for Mantegna, 42 ; affection 
for his sisters, 42, 45; appointed 
captain - general of the Venetian 
armies, 45, 128, 274; appearance, 
46 ; portraits, 46 ; dissensions with 
his uncles, 47 ; letter to his wife, 
53 ; at Bologna, 58 ; Milan, 60 ; 
attends the races at Brescia, 63 ; 
his sword of state, 73 ; at Venice, 
102, 139; his new palace, 106; 
request for a map of Paris, 107 ; 
affection for his daughter Leonora, 
112, 136 ; on the arrival of French 
ambassadors, 112; refuses pro- 
posals of Charles VIII., 113 ; ap- 
pointed captain of the League, 
115 ; on the battle of the Taro, 
119; his prowess, 120; at Novara, 
122 ; increase of his salary, 123 ; 
reception by Charles VIII., 123 ; 
triumphal entry into Mantua, 124 ; 
memorial, 124 ; in Rome, 137 ; pre- 
sented with the golden rose, 137 ; 
attack of fever, 138 ; return home, 
138, 263 ; dismissal, 141 ; device, 
142, 165; motto, 142; efforts to 
propitiate the Signory, 143 ; his 
mistress, 144; tortuous policy, 145; 
offered the command of the allied 
forces, 146 ; his overtures to Louis 
XII., 151 ; meeting at Milan, 152 ; 
his suspicions of Caesar Borgia, 
180 ; anxiety for his sister's safety, 
180; fears for his life, 236; de- 

nounces Caesar Borgia, 239 ; recon- 
ciliation, 210; in France, 242; on 
the death of Alexander VI., 256; 
his campaign in Naples, 263 ; re- 
signs Ijis command, 263 ; his re- 
sentment against Castiglione, 270 ; 
declines the post of Captain-general 
of the Republic, 275; joins the 
Pope at Perugia, 283 ; on his entry 
into Bologna, 285 ; on restoring 
the Camera Dipinta, 285 ; at the 
siege of Genoa, 295 ; appointed 
Grand Master of the Order of St. 
Michel, 295; his illness, 306; ii. 
56, 86, 94; taken prisoner, 32; 
captivity, 38 ; release, 44 ; ap- 
pointed Gonfalionereof the Church, 
44; his irritability, 86; will, 154; 
death, 155; funeral, 156 

Gonzaga, Francesco, Ambassador in 
Rome, ii. 133, 245 ; on the death 
of Elisabetta, 249 ; at the wedding 
of the Duke of Mantua, 334 ; con- 
spiracy against Federico, 346 ; put 
to death, 346 

Gonzaga, Francesco, his birth, ii. 
351 ; succeeds to the title, 387 ; 
marriage and death, 387 

Gonzaga, Francesco, at the Univer- 
sity of Pavia, i. 30 ; created a 
Cardinal, 30 ; love of music and 
antiques, 33 ; appointed papal 
legate, 34 ; entry into Mantua, 34 

Gonzaga, Gianfrancesco, i, 173 ; at 
Anspach, 29 ; bequeathed the prin- 
cipality of Bozzolo and Sabbioneta, 
37 ; his marriage, 47 ; increasing 
infirmities, 47 

Gonzaga, Gianlucido, i. 23 

Gonzaga, Giovanni, i. 41 ; affection 
for Isabella d'Este, 48 ; his wed- 
ding, 58 ; on the news of the sur- 
render of Lodovico, 156 ; on the 
death of the Duke of Urbino, 307 ; 
his death, ii. 232 

Gonzaga, Giovanni Pietro, i. 105 

Gonzaga, Ginlia, ii. 243 ; her wedding, 
i. 252 

Gonzaga, Giulio, his birth, ii. 365 

Gonzaga, Guglielmo, his long reign, 
ii. 387 

Gonzaga, Ippolita, her birth, i. 263 

Gonzaga, Isabella, her marriage, ii. 

Gonzaga, Laura, i. 200, 310. See 

Gonzaga, Leonora Violante Maria, 
her birth, i. 104 ; sponsors, 105 ; 
betrothal, 267 ; portrait, 267 ; her 
meeting with the Duke of Urbino, 
310 ; appearance, 311 ; her journey 



to Urbino, ii. 35 ; impression on 
the court, 37. See Urbino 
Gonraga, Livia, her birth, i. 186 ; 

illness and death, 306 
Gonzaga, Livia Osanna, her birth, i. 

311 ; vowed to the cloister, 312 
Gonzaga, Lodovico, i. 3 ; defeats the 
Buonacolsi, 19 ; pupil of Vittorino, 
22 ; at the camp of Filippo Vis- 
conti, 24 ; reconciliation with his 
father, 24 ; marriage, 24 ; literary 
ta»tes, 25 ; interest in natural his- 
tory, 2G ; decoration of his capi- 
tal, 26 ; sculptors and painters, 26 ; 
love of antiquity, 27 ; kindness to 
Andrea Mantegna, 27; his wife, 28; 
daughters, 31-33 ; sons, 33 ; his 
death, 37 ; division of his State, 
Gonzaga, Lodovico, Bishop of Man- 
tua, i. 33 ; bequeathed Gazzuolo, 
37 ; his efforts to obtain the Cardi- 
nal's hat, 47 ; his death, 282 
Gonzaga, Bishop Louis, i. 170, 371 
Gonzaga, Lucia, i. 3 
Gonzaga, Luigi, i. 270 ; ii. 127, 364 
Gonzaga, Luigia, ii. 341 
Gonzaga, Margarita, at Urbino, ii. 48 ; 

betrothal, 48 
Gonzaga, Margherita, i. 3 ; her por- 
trait, 3 ; elegance of her Latin 
letters, 23 
Gonzaga, Margherita, her birth, i. 

135 ; death, 136 
Gonzaga, Duchess Margherita. See 

Gonzaga, Maddalena, i. 38 ; her be- 
trothal, 42 ; marriage, 45 ; sudden 
death, 52 
Gonzaga, Pirro, ii. 142, 143 ; his mar- 
riage, i. 385 ; at Bologna, ii. 213 
Gonzaga, Rodolfo, at the court of 
Charles the Bold, i. 29; bequeathed 
Castiglione, 37 
Gonzaga, Sigismondo, at the Univer- 
sity of Pavia, i. 41 ; Monsignore il 
protonotario, 48 ; accompanies Isa- 
bella to Venice, 98, 217 ; negotia- 
tions for the Cardinal's hat, 137 ; 
on the birth of Isabella's fourth 
daughter, 262 ; proclaimed Cardi- 
nal, 267 ; on the death of Pope 
Julius II., ii. 74 ; candidate for 
the Papacy, 194 ; appearance, 194 ; 
character, 194 ; on the election of 
Adrian VI., 197 ; his death, 248 
Gonzaga, Susanna, her deformity, i. 

Gonzaga, Madonna Susanna, ii. 94 
Gortz, Count von, i. 33 
Governolo, ii. 253, 267 

Grandi, Ercole, ii. 172 

Grassi Paride, Biarii, ii. 51 n., 55 n., 
63 n. 

Gravina, Duke of, his capture, i. 

Gregorio, Convent of San, ii. 58 

Gregorovius, F., Lucrezia Borgia, i. 
179 n., 193 n., 199 n., 214 n.,248n., 
250 n., 257 n. ; ii. 158 n. ; Rom, ii. 
254 n., 259 n., 262 n. 

Gregory XIII., Pope, ii. 364 

Grignano, ii. 101, 106 

Grimani, Antonio, ii. 230 

Grimani, Marco, his escape from 
Rome, ii. 264 

Gritti, Andrea, elected Doge, ii. 230 ; 
alliance with Charles V., 231 ; his 
reception of Isabella d'Este, 234 

Grossino, ii, 53; on the churches of 
Rome, 59 ; on the statue of the 
river-god Tiber, 60; the Feast of 
the Jews, 60 ; on the portrait of 
Federico Gonzaga, 73 

Grotta, Studio of the, foundation, 
i. 158 ; poem on, 1.58 ; the marble 
doorway, 165 ; collection of paint- 
ings and works of art, 272 ; ii. 377- 
379 ; library, 379-381 

Grottaferrata, ii. 60 

Gruyer, Gustave, L'Art Perrarais d 
Vipoque de$ Princes d'Este, i. 13 n., 
74 n., 376 n. 

Guarino, Battista, tutor to Isabella 
d'Este, i. 9, 41 ; letter to, 51, 66 ; 
on the death of Duchess Leonora, 

Guastalla, principality of, ii. 345 

Guasti, Saeco di Prato, ii. 68 n. 

Gubbio, i. 109, 196 

Gubbio, Messer Salviati da, ii. 295 

Guicciardini, ii. 64 ; on the return of 
Francesco Maria to his Duchy, 
192 ; Opere inedite, 255 n., 266 n. ; 
on his conduct, 265 ; Storia d' Italia, 
286 n. ; at Bologna, 304 

Guinea, discovery of a new island, i. 

Guise, Duke Francis of, ii. 361 
Gurk, Matthaus Lang, Bishop of, 
present from Isabella d'Este, ii. 
39 ; at Mantua, 51 ; interview with 
her, 51 ; at the Congress of Man- 
tua, 65 ; at the Vatican, 69 ; Milan, 
Gusnasco, Lorenzo, i. 129 ; Carlo deW 
Acqua, 154 n. 

Halicabnassus, discovery of the 

Tomb at, ii. 17 
Henchener, Cardinal Wilhelm, at the 

coronation of Charles V., ii. 313 



Henry VII. confers the Order of the 
Garter on the Duke of Urbino, i. 

Henry VIII., his accession, ii. 173 ; 
festivities at his court, 174 ; tour- 
nament, 175 

Hercules, statue of, ii. 9, 45 

Hibernia, Island of, ii. 180 

Hieronimo, Messer, i. 290 

Hoffmann, B., Barbara von Hofien- 
zollem, i. 25 n. 

Hungary, Matthias Corvinus, King 
of, i. 104 

IMOLA, i. 196, 284 ; ii. 296 
Imola, Vincenzo da, i. 210 
Incoronata, chapel of the, i. 26 
Inghirami, Cardinal Tommaso, ii. 9, 

Innocent VIII., Pope, i. 42; employs 

Andrea Mantegna, 18 
Intra, G. B., Arch. St. Lomb., ii. 

346 n. 
Ippolito, Matteo, i. 380 ; ii. 44 
Ireland, experiences in, ii. 177-180; 

impressions of, 180 
Italy, league for the defence of, ii. 

231; condition, 272; desolation, 

272 ; outbreak of plague, 273 

Jacquemart, M., ii. 368 

Jews, Feast of the, ii. 60 

Julius II., elected Pope, i. 258 ; wed- 
ding of his daughter, 268 ; expedi- 
tion against Perugia, 283; sum- 
mons Francesco, 284; at Urbino, 
284; Imola, 284; ceremony at 
Bologna, 285 ; his gift to Leonora 
Gonzaga, ii. 35 ; pronounces the 
absolution of Venice, 42; reception 
of the Duke and Duchess of Urbino, 
42 ; on the release of Francesco, 
43; his collection of statues, 44; 
declares war against the Duke of 
Ferrara, 47 ; affection for Federico 
48, 53 ; his campaign against Fer 
rara, 50; truce proclaimed, 51 
portrait, 53 ; illness, 54 ; recovery, 
55 ; opens the Lateran Council, 57 
absolves Alfonso, 63 ; his terms re 
fused, 63; proceedings against, 63 
attack of fever, 72 ; death, 74 

Justiniano, M. Pietro, i. 222 

KiLDARE, ii. 177 

Kristeller, Paul, Andrea Mantegna, i. 
8 n., 106 n., 162 n., 363 n. ; Archivio 
Qonzaga, 90 n. ; Barbara von Brand- 
enburg, 33 ». ; HohemoUern Jahrbuch, 
26 n. 

Laciso, ii. 102 

Lanciani, R., " Destruction of Rome," 

ii. 269 n. 

Landi, Ortensio, ii. 282 

Lannoy, Viceroy of Naples, in com- 
mand of the Imperialists, ii. 254 ; 
negotiations with the Pope, 254; 
signs a truce, 254 ; at Siena, 255 

Laocoon, statue of, ii. 6, 44, 60 

Lateran Council, opened, ii. 57 

Lautrec, at Mantua, ii. 132 ; hatred 
towards, 184; campaign against, 
190; concentrates his forces at 
Pavia, 199 ; defeated, 199 ; cam- 
paign in Naples, 286 ; his death, 293 

Lavagnola, Isabella, ii. 87 ; insult 
against, 88 ; character, 88, 91 

League, a Holy, proclaimed, ii. 56 ; 
army of the, defeated at Ravenna, 

Legnago, ii. 32 

Leo X., Pope, i. 269 ; his clavichord, 
ii. 29 ; proclaimed Pope, 76 ; coro- 
nation, 79; designs against the 
Duke of Urbino, 125, 189; permits 
him to reside at Mantua, 129 ; 
terms, 132; condolences on the 
death of the Marquis of Mantua, 
157; treaty with Charles V., 183, 
185 ; his admiration for Isabella 
d'Este, 184 ; intrigues against 
Alfonso, 189; his death, 190; por- 
trait, 245, 339 

Leombruno, Lorenzo, i. 334; ii. 201; 
his decoration of the Corte Vecchia, 

Leptopalidano, i. 226 

Lcrmolieff, Oallerie zu Berlin, ii. 368 n. 

Ley va, Antonio de, ii. 199 ; his de- 
fence of Pavia, 238; defeats St. 
Pol's army, 293 ; at Bologna, 298 ; 
granted the city of Pavia for life, 
310; at the wedding of the Duke 
of Mantua, 334, 335 

Liburnio, Niccolo, ii. 371 ; Le Sdvette, 
371 n. 

Ligny, Mons. de, i. 152, 185 

Liombeni, Luca, his decoration of 
Isabella's studiolo, i. 88 ; threatened 
with the dungeon, 89 

Lippi, Filippino, i. 330 

Litta, Famvjlie celebri, ii. 308 n., 
364 n., 387 n. 

Loches, chateau at, i. 242 

Lodi, ii. 251 

Lombardo, TuUio, his marble door, 
ii. 205 

Lombardy, invasion of, by the French, 
ii. 93 ; war in, 272 ; inundation, 

Lonato, ii. 95 



London, outbreak of sweating sick- 
ness, ii. 181 

Longinus, the centurion, i. 26 

Longueil, Christophe, in Rome, ii. 
166 ; accused of high treason, 166 ; 
trial, 167 ; his Latin defence, 167 ; 
vindication, 168 ; death, 168 

Longueville, Madame de, ii. 40 

Loredano, Messer Andrea, i. 361 

Lorenzi, Monumenti per la storia d. 
Pal. ducale, ii. 33 n. 

Loreto, ii. 244 ; pilgrimage to, i. 
108 ; ii. 189 ; Campanile of, 13 

Louis XII., i. 146 ; alliance with the 
Pope, 151 ; entry into Milan, 152; 
treaty with Ferdinand, 188 ; at 
Milan, 235 ; receives the exiled 
princes, 235; welcome to Caesar 
Borgia, 238 ; his treatment of the 
Marquis of Mantua, 242 ; reverses 
in Naples, 250 ; raises a new army, 
250; loss of Naples, 263; at the 
siege of Genoa, 295 ; reception of 
Isabella d'Este at Milan, 297 ; 
invites her to France, 303 ; his 
intention to visit Italy, ii. 39, 41 ; 
his death, 117; marriage of his 
daughter, 286 

Lucca, races at, i. 63 

Lucca, Ammonio of, his death, ii. 

Lucido, M. Giovanni, i. 246 ; on 
Caesar Borgia, 261 

Lutheran movement, ii. 224 

Luxembourg, Count Jacques de, ii. 

Luzio, A. " Federico Gonzaija," ii. 
164 TU ; his pamphlet Gara clei 
Viagr/i, 1. 305 n.', I Precettori 
d'Isabella d'Este, 4 n., 6 n., 52 n., 
67 n., 81 n. 89 n., 187 n., 214 n., 
215 n., 225 n., 242 n., 315 «., 320 n.; 
ii. 151 n.; I lUtratti d' Isabella d'Este, 
i. 93 n.; Rivista Mantovana, ii. 
330 n., 333 «., 353 n., 382 n., 384 n. 

Luzio e Eenier, Archivio Storico 
Lombardo, i. 48 n., 53 «., 57 n., 
61n., 98n., 113 n., 115 n., 118 n., 
123 n., 144 n., 145 n., 147 n., 154 n., 
159 n., 165 n., 233 n., 323 n., 327 n.; 
ii. 10 n., 83 n., 87 n., 114 n., 121 n., 
124n.,139n., 202 n., 285 n., 364 n.; 
Giom. Stor. d. Lett, i. 10 n., 60 n., 
76 n., 166 n., 239 n., 263 n., 280 n., 
314 n.; ii. 20 n., 23 n., 27 «., 34 n., 
51 n.,56 n., 87 n., 140 n., 150 n., 152 n., 
196 n., 208 n., 213 n., 222 n., 230 n., 
241 n., 279 n., 347 n., 386 n.; 
Mantova e Urbino, i. 9 «., 39 n., 
43 n., 44 n., 45 n., 50 n., 51 n,, 52 n., 
69n., 97«., 102 n., 105 n., 109 n., 

112 «., 136 n., 170 n., 178 n., 182 n., 
218 n., 228 n., 237 n., 241 n., 255 n., 
265 n., 268 w., 284 n., 307 n., 309 n.. 
311 n.; ii. 6 n., 35 n., 68 n., 69 n., 
117 n., 127 n., 170 n., 187n., 23G n., 
239 n., 242 n., 250 n., 268 n., 344 n., 

365 n.; Nuova Antoloyia, i. 55 n., 
63n., 73n., 116 n., 138 n., 215 n., 
227 «.; ii. 41 n., 81 n., 124 «., 
131 «., 134 «., 207 n., 345 n., 364 n., 

366 n. 

Lyons, ii, 133 ; treaty signed at, i. 

Machiavelli, Niccolo, at Mantua, 
i. 274 ; on the defeat of the 
Venetians, ii. 32 

Macintosh, Miss, ii. 165 

Madonna della Vittoria, church of 
the, i. 125 

Madrid, ii. 236; Treaty of, signed, 

Maflfei, Count Niccolo, i. 328 

Maffei, Count Nicola, ii. 334 

Magellan, his journey round the 
world, ii. 225 

Magenta, Carlo, / Visconti e Sforza 
nel Castello di Pavia, i. 56 n. 

Maguzano, ii. 96, 191 

Mahomet II., Sultan, his portrait, i. 

Maineri, Gianfrancesco, i. 150 

Malalbergo, i. 198, 200 

Malamocco, i., 139 ; forts of, 98 

Malaspina, Carlo, ii. 281 

Malatesta, Carlo, his treatment of 
Virgil's statue, i. 173 

Malatesta, Francesco, i. 247 ; on the 
sketch of Angelo Tovaglia's house, 
318 ; on Lorenzo dei Medici's 
vases, 322 

Malatesta, Paola, i. 20 

Malvezzi, Luca, ii. 32 

Manfredi, Astorre, taken captive to 
Rome, i. 188 

Manfredi, Manfredo de, letter from, 
i. 321 

Mantegna, Andrea, his pictures, i. 
6-8, 90, 91, 124, 272, 287, 359, 
370 ; absence from Isabella d'Este's 
wedding, 17; in Rome, 18; his 
treatment at Mantua, 27 ; his 
frescoes of the Camera degli Sposi, 
35 ; employed by Federico and 
Francesco Gonzaga, 40, 42 ; his 
portraits, 46, 91 ; return from 
Rome, 86 ; his paintings for the 
Studio of the Grotta, 161, 317; 
his death, 285, 369; illness, 359, 
363 ; appeal on behalf of his son, 
362 ; pecuniary difficulties, 363 ; 



appeal to Isabella for belp, 864; 
price of his bust of Faustina, 365 ; 
his sketch of Comas, 366 ; pictures 
in his workshop, 370; his Tondo, 
ii. 172 

Mantegna, Francesco, his series of 
Triumphs at Marniirolo, i. 106 ; 
repairs the Camera Bipinta, 290 ; 
banished from Mantua, 3G2 ; char- 
acter, 870 

Mantua, Federico, Marquis of. See 

Mantua, Federico, Duke of. See 

Mantua, Francesco, Marquis of. See 

Mantua, Duchess Margherita, entry 
into Mantua, ii. 343 ; her char- 
acter, 345 ; birth of a son, 351 

Mantua, entry into, i. 16; festivities, 
17; population, 19; prosperity 
under the Gonzaga princes, 19 ; 
printing-press, 26 ; carnival fStes 
at, 183; ii. 188; plays, i. 264; 
ii. 349 ; outbreak of plague, i. 279, 
283, 359; ii. 273; number of 
deaths, i. 283; Congress at, ii. 
65 ; manufacture of embroidered 
caps, 366 ; sacked by the Germans, 

Mantua, Castello, frescoes of the 
Camera degli Sposi, i. 35 ; Palaz- 
zina, ii. 336 

Mantua, Duomo, chapel of the In- 
coronata, i. 26 ; churches of S. 
Sebastian and S. Andrea, 26 ; Area 
di S. Anselmo, 38 

Mantua, General Council of 1459, i. 

" Mantua-maker," origin of the word, 
ii. 367 

Manuel, Don Juan, Imperial Am- 
bassador, ii. 195 

Manuzio, Aldo, i. 77, 133, 223, 341 ; 
ii. 149 ; his editions of classical 
authors, 21 ; letter to Isabella 
d'Este, 24 ; price of his books, 26 ; 
arrest and imprisonment, 27 ; re- 
lease, 28 ; death, 29 
Maramaldo, Signer Fabrizio, ii. 328 
Marcello, Alvise, i. 221, 223 ; his 
efforts to obtain Bellini's picture, 
Marchese, Leonello, ii. 154, 202 
Marchetto, i. 271 ; ii. 38 
Maria della Grazie, S., i. 106 
Maria sopra Minerva, Sta., Dominican 

Convent of, ii. 60 
Mariano, Fra. See Fetti 
Marignano, defeat of the Swiss at, ii. 

Marino, i. 181 ; castle of, ii. 63 

Mario, Monto, ii. 258 

Marmirolo, villa of, i. 40 ; decorations, 
106 ; palace, banquet at, ii. 324 

Maroscello, Margherita. See Can- 

Marot, Clement, his hymn on Ren^e 
de France, ii. 290 ; at Ferrara, 384 

Marseilles, ii. 124 

Martinati, Notizie intorno di Cattig- 
Hone, ii. 190 n. 

Martini, Don Giovanni, the German 
Kapellmeister, i. 10, 57 ; his sing- 
ing lessons, 86 

Mattello, on the birth of Isabella's 
daughter, i. 104 ; his imitations, 
134 ; death, 134 

Maximilian, Emperor, league with 
the Duke of Milan, i. 146 ; sponsor, 
178 ; his letter on Aldo Manuzio, 
ii. 28 ; death, 154 

May-day, revels held on, ii. 246 

Medici, Alessandro dei, Duke of 
Florence, ii. 294 

Medici, Cardinal Giovanni dei, on the 
illness of the Pope, ii. 54 ; taken 
prisoner, 57 ; proclaimed Pope Leo 
X., 76 

Medici, Cardinal Giulio dei, elected 
Pope Clement VII., ii. 194, 195, 232 

Medici, Caterina dei, ii. 159 ; pro- 
posed marriage, 198 

Medici, Giovanni dei, at Mantua, i. 

Medici, Giovanni deUe Bande Nere, 
ii. 253 

Medici, Giovanni Matteo dei, ii. 198 

Medici, Giuliano dei, ii. 48, 110 ; at 
the Congress of Mantua, 65 ; return 
to Florence, 67 ; Gonfaloniere of 
the Church, 125 ; his illness, 125 ; 
death, 126 
Medici, Ippolito dei, ii. 323 ; at 
Bologna, 302 ; raised to the Car- 
dinaiate, 307 ; his accident, 324 ; 
sonnets on Tullia of Aragon, 384 
Medici, Lorenzo dei, his visit to 

Mantua, i. 39 ; his vases, 322 
Medici, Lorenzo dei, despot of Flor- 
ence, ii. 94 ; Gonfaloniere of the 
Church, 126 ; seizes Urbino, 127 ; 
created Duke of Urbino, 129 ; his 
death, 159 
Medici, Lorenzo di Pierfrancesco dei, 
sponsor, i. 105 ; congratulations on 
the birth of Isabella's daughter, 105 
Medici, Ottaviano dei, ii. 245 
Medici, Piero dei, ii. 94 ; drowned, 

i. 263 
Medina del Campo, Tower of, i. 261 
Medola, benefice of, ii. 327 



Meliolo, Bartolommeo, appointed 
Master of the Mint, i. 108 

Mellini, Celso, his accusation against 
Longueil, ii. 166 ; his Latin oration, 
167 ; drowned, 168 

Mellini, Mario, ii. 167 

Mereschalchi, Zanino, ii. 97 

Messibugo, his book on Duke Ercole'e 
banquet, ii. 292 

Metaurus, valley of the, i. 229 

Mezzo, Lago di, i. 20 

Michel Angelo, i. 233 ; his Sleeping 
Cupids, 232, 272; ii. 6; paintings 
in the Sistina, 62 

Michiel, Marc Antonio, ii. 38 

Middelburg, ii. 177, 182 

Migliorotti, Atalante, i. 85 ; at Man- 
tua, 86 

Milan, Duchess Bona of, i. 4, 40. See 

Milan, Filippo Visconti, Duke of, i. 
24. See Visconti 

Milan, Francesco Sforza, Duke of, 
restoration to the Duchy, ii. 184, 
198 ; reception, 199 ; evacuates 
Milan, 238 ; wounded, 309 ; re- 
ception by Charles V., 309; receives 
the investiture of Milan, 309 ; at 
the wedding of the Duke of Man- 
tua, 335 ; his wedding, 361 ; death, 

Milan, Giangaleazzo Sforza, Duke of, 
i. 55 ; his betrothal, 31, 33 ; death 
of his father, 33 ; marriage, 33 ; 
death, 114 

Milan, Duchess Isabella of. (SeeAragon 

Milan, Lodovico Sforza, proclaimed 
Duke, i. 114 ; treaty of peace with 
Charles VIII., 123; death of his 
wife, 140 ; his league with the 
Emperor Maximilian, 146 ; at Man- 
tua, 147 ; agreement with the 
Marquis, 148 ; on the portrait of 
Isabella, 150; downfall, 152; re- 
turn, 155 ; surrender at Novara, 156 

Milan, Maximilian Sforza, Duke of, 
at Mantua, ii. 80 ; character, 81, 
93 ; state entry into Milan, 81 ; 
weakness and incapacity, 93 ; sus- 
picion of his brother, 93 ; abdica- 
tion, 120 

Milan, visits to, i. 61, 62 ; carnival, 
ii. 80; captured by the Imperialists, 
190, 251 ; siege, 232 ; evacuated, 238 

Mincio, i. 20 ; ii. 95 ; frozen over, 
146 ; overflows, 342 

Miracle-play, a, i. 251 

Mirandola, Galeotto della, i. 57 ; his 
construction of a dyke, 59 

Mirandola, Messer Pandolfo Pico 
della, ii. 277 

Mirandola, siege of, ii. 50 

Modena, i. 5 ; ii. 63, 287 ; pajjal camp 
at, i. 271 ; capture of, ii. 50 

Modesto, i. 247 

Molino, M. Alvise, i. 222 

Molle, Ponte, ii. 265 

Molza, the poet, ii. 247 ; his escape 
from Rome, 270 ; on the sale of his 
Library, 279 

Moncada, Don Ugo di, ii. 252 

Moncenigo, M. Alvise, i. 222 

Mond, M. Ludwig, ii. 340 

Montargis, ii. 286 

Montefeltro, Federico di, Duke of 
Urbino, i. 22 ; pupil of Vittoriao, 22 

Montefeltro, Odd' Antonio di, i. 23 

MonfeiTato, Marchioness Anna of, ii. 
40, 135 

Monferrato, Marquis Bonifuzio of, at 
Bologna, ii. 302 ; at the coronation 
of Charles V., 313, 315 ; his death, 

Monferrato, Giovanni Giorgio, Mar- 
quis of, succeeds to the title, ii. 
331 ; his marriage, 351 ; death, 

Monferrato, Guglielmo II., Marquis 
of, i. 297 ; betrothal of his daugh- 
ter, ii. 135; death, 135 

Monferrato, Margherita Paleologa, 
her betrothal, ii. 333 ; marriage, 
335. See Mantua, Duchess of 

Monferrato, Maria Paleologa, hel 
beti-othal, ii. 135 ; broken oli', 240 

Monferrato, annexed to Mantua, ii. 

Montpelier, ii. 182 

Montpensier, Chiara Gonzaga, Du- 
chess of. See Gonzaga 

Montpensier, Gilbert, Duke of, i. 
113; his marriage, 38; retires to 
Calabria, 128 ; forced to surrender, 
136; attack of fever, 136, 138; 
death, 140 

Morgantino, the dwarf, ii, 363 

Morrison, Mrs. Alfred, i. 150 n. 

Morsolin, B., P. Ohiericati, ii. 84 n., 
175 n. ; G. 0. Trissino, 373 n. 

Moschus, Demetrius, i. 78 

Miintz, M. Eugene, i. 321 n, 

Murano, i. 100 

Muratori, Diario Ferrarese, in Rerum 
Italicarum Soriptores, i. 1 n., 58 n., 
212 n. 

Musocho, Contessa di, 1. 298 

Nanino, the dwarf, ii. 81 
Naples, King Federico, his abdica- 
tion, i. 189 ; retires to France, 189 
Naples, King Ferrante I., i. 3 
Naples, King Ferrante II., driven 



into exile, i. 115 ; recovers his king- 
dom, 128 ; death, 139 ; portrait, 139 
Naples, Infanta Giulia, ii. 307. See 

Naples, Queen of, her reception by 

Charles V., ii. 306 
Naples, Ambassador of, i. 15 
Naples, conquest of, i. 115 ; surren- 
ders, 188 ; campaign in, 263 ; visit 

to, ii. 114 
Nassau, Count of, at Bologna, ii. 302 
Navagero, his verses, ii. 29 ; librarian 

of San Marco, 145 ; on Titian's 

picture of St. Jerome, 229 ; on a 

gold cap, 367 
Navarre, King of, i. 261 
Negro, master of the horse, i. 150 
Negroponto, Giorgio da, ii. 45 ; on 

the discovery of the Hercules of 

the Belvedere, 9 
Nepi, i. 255 
Nere, Giovanni delle Bande, his 

death, ii. 253 
Nero, medal of, ii. 9 
Nevers, Madame de, ii. 40 
Nevers, Duchy of, ii. 364 
Norsa, Daniele, i. 117, 124 
Novara, Bartolino da, i. 1 ; architect 

of the Castello Rosso, 20 
Novara, camp at, i. 122 ; surrender, 

123, 155 ; battle of, ii. 93 ; taken 

by the French, 232 
Novellara, Camilla Gonzaga di, ii. 

243 ; in Rome, 247 
Novellara, Fra Pietro da, the Car- 

mellite Vicar-General, i. 79, 139 ; 

his letters on Leonardo da Vinci, 

319, 320 
Niirnberg, Diet of, ii. 224 
Nys, Daniel, 1. 233 

Oceanic Sba, islands of the, ii. 225 
Ochino, Fra Bernardino, ii. 290; his 

new Order of Reformed Friars, 382 ; 

sermons, 382, 384 
Odasio, i. 307 

Oglio, river, ii. 148 ; overflows, 342 
Olduino, Messer Giulio, ii. 88, 149 
Oliverotto, murdered, i. 244 
Omagh, ii. 177 
Orange, Prince of, ii. 258 ; in the 

Vatican, 260 ; at Bologna, 307 ; 

death, 826 
Orflec, Edmond, ii. 147 
Organ, an alabaster, ii. 207 
Orleans, Duke of, at Novara, i. 122 
Orsini, Fabio, i. 203 
Orsini, Giovanni, lord of Bracciano, 

his wedding, i. 268 
Orsini, Paolo, his capture, i. 245 
Orsini, Rinaldo, imprisoned, i. 246 

Orsini degli Uberti, Madonna, i. 310 

Osanna, Suor, her prophecy on Caesar 
Borgia, i. 255 ; death, 275 ; beati- 
fication, 275; ii. 139; interment, 312 

Ostia, ii. 54, 266 

Ostiglia, Governor of, ii. 348 

Pacioli, Luca, i. 155 ; his " Book of 

Games," 171 

Padua, i. 101, 224 ; ii. 32 

Pagano, i. 75, 121 

Palatine of the Rhine, Count, at 
Bologna, ii. 302 

Paleologa, Princess Margherita, ber 
betrothal, ii. 332; wedding, 335. 
See Mantua, Duchess of 

Paleologa, Maria, negotiations for 
her hand, ii. 331 ; death, 332 

Palisse, La, ii. 244 

Pcdla, the game of, i. 21 ; ii. 123, 324 

Pallavicini, Antonio, i. 153, 239 ; Car- 
dinal di 8. Prassede, 296 ; ii. 5 

Pallavicino, Galeazzo, i. 154 

Palliano, castle of, ii. 252, 308 

Palmieri, Mons., ii. 275 

Palos, i. 94 

Pampeluna, i. 261 

Panicale, i. 337 

Panizzato, Niccolo, lecturer in the 
University of Ferrara, i. 66 

Paola, Sister, i. 312. See Osanna 

Paolo fuori le Mura, S., ii. 58 

Parma, i. 113 ; given up, ii. 69 

Pasolini, Caterina Sjorza, ii. 253 n. 

Pasquino, ii. 191, 238 ; his verses, 
206 ; witticisms, 248 

Passavant, Kunstreise, ii. 162 n. 

Pastor "History of the Popes," i. 
24 «., 179 «., 187 n., 254 n., 255 n., 
258 n. ; ii. 51 n., 67 n. 

Patrick, St., Purgatory of, ii. 178 

Paul III., Pope, his proposed Council, 
ii. 383 ; at Ferrara, 386 

Pavia, Lorenzo da, i. 223, 341 ; or- 
dered to make a clavichord, 129, 
153; a lute, 131, 172; correspond- 
ence with Isabella d'Este, 132; 
characteristics, 133 ; on her por- 
trait, 173; his efforts to obtain 
Giovanni Bellini's picture, 344, 
347 ; on its completion, 351 ; on 
the death of Andrea Mantegna, 
369 ; on the Aldine classics, ii. 21- 
23; on the clavichord for Pope 
Leo X., 29; congratulations on 
the birth of Isabella's grandson, 
30 ; death, 30 ; his organ for the 
Pope, 113 

Pavia, Maximilian, Count of, his be» 
trothal, i. 148 



Pavia, fetes at, i, 61 ; battle of, ii. 
199, 244; siege of, 238; anniversary 
of the victory, 314 

Pavia, Certosa at, i. 56, 164 

Pavia, University of, i. 30, 41 

Peace, proclamation of, ii. 310 

Pedro, Diego di San, La Cartel 6! Amor, 
ii. 20 n. 

Pelissier, L., Louii XII. et L. Sforza, i. 
145 n., 152 n. ; Revue, historique, 
243 n. 

Pellipario, Nicolo, ii. 369 

Pennine, Monte, ii. 100 

Pepoli, Count, ii. 318 ; at Ponte Molle, 

Peroto, i. 190 

Perugia, seized, i. 244 

Perugino, i. 163, his Triumph of 
Chastity, 272, 338 ; defects of the 
picture, 339 ; requested to paint a 
picture for the Grotta, 328 ; his 
altar-pieces, 328 ; contract, 330 ; 
instructions, 331-333 ; delays, 334 ; 
his absence from Florence, 336 ; at 
Perugia, 337 

Peruzzi, Baldassarre, ii. 113 

Pesaro, i. 108, 196; ii. 243; surrender, 
i. 187 

Pescara, Marquis of, ii. 82, 115, 244; 
his betrothal, i. 182 ; taken pri- 
soner, ii. 57 ; amours with Delia, 
ii. 115, 116 

Pescara, Marchesa di, ii. 115. See 
Colonna, Vittoria 

Peschiera, ii. 83, 99, 102 

Petrarca, Messcr Francesco, i. 1, 167 

Petriolo, baths at, i. 25 

Petronio, S., Cathedral of, i. 285 

Petrucci, Cardinal Pandolfo, ii. 117; 
plot against, i. 246 ; deposed, 249 

Philippi, Domino, i. 169 

Phillips, Claude, "The Picture Gal- 
lery of Charles I.," ii. 162 n. 

Pia, Alda, ii. 280 

Pia, Emilia, i. 160, 217 ; ii. 145 ; 
death of her husband, i. 182; letters 
to Isabella d'Este, 268 ; her death, 
ii. 279 

Pia, Margherita, i. 154. See Sanseve- 
rino, Margherita di 

Piacenza, ii. 253 ; given up, 69 

Piccinino, romances of, i. 76 

Piccolomini, Cardinal, elected Pope, 
i. 255 ; death, 258 

Picenardi, Alexander, i. 69 ; on the 
return of Elisabetta to Urbino, 
259 ; journey to, ii. 36 ; on the 
majolica, 369 

Pico, Messer Pandolfo, on the death 
of Raphael, ii. 168 

Pietola, i. 22, 25 ; ii. 127 

Pietro, Fra, i. 126 
Pieve, Citth, della, i. 337 
Pigafetti, Antonio, ii. 225 ; his Itin- 
erary, 226 ; at Mantua, 227 
Pigliano, Comte de, i. 119 
Pio, Alberto, ii. 28, 48, 259, 279 
Pio, Constantino, ii. 144 
Pio, Ercole, his Eclogue, i. 306 
Pio, Leonello, ii. 279 
Pio, Marco, of Carpi, 1. 17 
Piombo, Sebastiano del, ii. 248, 277; 

his portrait of Cardinal Ercole, 278 
Piperario, Andrea, ii. 231 
Pisa, Council summoned at, ii. 52 
Pisanello, i. 2 ; his portraits, 3 ; fres- 
coes, 12, 26 ; medal of Cecilia 

Gonzaga, 24 
Pisani, Cardinal, ii. 363) 
Pisano, Zorzo, i. 98 
Pistoia, his elegy on Mattello, i. 134 ; 

his poems, 387 ; portrait, 391 
Pius II., Pope, at the Council of 

Mantua, i. 29 
Pius III., elected Pope, i. 258 ; his 

death, 258 
Pizzino, Cardinal, ii. 256 
Plague, outbreak of, at Ferrara, ii. 

288 ; Mantua, i. 359 ; ii. 273; Rome, 

224, 269 
Platina, his poem, " The Dream of 

the Marquis, i. 25 ; tutor to Fede- 

rico Gonzaga, 28 
Po, the, i. 5, 12, 16, 43, 55, 265 ; ii. 

253 ; frozen over, i. 56 ; ii. 146 ; 

rising of the, 341 
Pol, Mons. de St.,ii. 132, 244; defeat 

of his army, 293 
Poland, King of, ii. 114 
Pole, Reginald, iL 166 
Poliziano, Angelo, his drama, " Or- 

feo," i. 34, 86 
Pompeo, Cardinal, ii. 252 
Pomponazzi, Pietro, his appearance, 

ii. 149, 217 ; at Bologna, 212 ; his 

" Treatise on the Immortalitv of 

the Soul," 212; Apologia, 213; 

lectures, 217 ; on the progress of 

his pupil Ercole, 218 ; death, 220 ; 

burial, 221 
Ponia, i. 219 
Pontanus, on the erection of a statue 

to Virgil, i. 174 
Ponzone, on the Indians in the New 

World, i. 96 
Popes, election of, i. 255, 258 ; ii. 75, 

194, 232 
Porretta, baths of, i. 34, 68 
Porto, Luigi da, Lettere Storiche, ii. 

33 n. 
Porto, ducal villa of, i. 38, 102 ; ii. 140 ; 

visit to, i. 227 ; gardens at, ii. 370 



i'ozzi, Gian Lnca, i. 192 

Pozzuoli, i. 138 

Praasede, Cardinal di S., ii. 5 

Prato, Cronaca Arch. St. It., ii. 81 n. ; 

Cronaca Milanese, i. 155 n. 
Prato, Btormed and sacked, ii. 67 
Praxiteles, the Cupid of, ii. 6 
Prete, II., on the appearance and 

character of Lucrezia Borgia, i. 

193 ; on the preparations for the 

wedding, 193 
Preti, Donato de', i. 114 ; ii. 41 
Preti, Vincenzo de', ii. 215 ; on 

Ercole's progress in his studies, 

216, 218 
Preti, Violante de', governess to the 

daughters of Federico Qonzaga, i. 

38 ; her letters, 38 
Prisciani, Pellegrino, ii. 33 ; on the 

question of Galeotto's dyke, i. 59 
Prosper!, Bernardo dei, on the blank 

left by Isabella d'Este, i. 51 ; on 

the play at Ferrara, 264; on the 

deaths of Ercole Strozzi and 

Niccolo da Correggio, 313 ; on the 

beauty of Isabella, ii. 134 
Prospero, Bartolommeo, ii. 286 
Pucci, Cardinal, at the siege of 

Rome, ii. 259 ; on the proclamation 

of peace, 310 
Pungileoni, Elogio, ii. 162 n., 338 n. 
Pusterla, Porta deUa, i. 287 

Quarterly Review, ii. 250 n. 

Raousa, Giorgio da, goldsmith of 
Venice, i. 16 

Rangone, Guido, ii. 251 

Rangone, Count Niccolo, i. 71 

Rangoni, Ginevra, her marriage, i. 169 

Raphael, his portrait of Julius II., ii. 
53 ; of Federico, 53, 72-74, 161 ; 
appointed architect of St. Peter's, 
112 ; his design for the tomb of the 
Marquis of Mantua, 160 ; promise 
to paint a picture for Isabella, 163 ; 
pictures, 164; loggia, 165; death, 
169 ; his portrait of Leo X., 339 

Ravenna, Bendetto, Accolti, Cardinal 
of, on the visit of Vittoria Colonna, 
ii. 385 

Ravenna, i. 43, 108, 138; ii. 35; 
battle of, 67 

Redini, Fra Girolamo, i. 125 

Reggio, 1. 15, 32 ; ii. 63, 235, 294 

Renier. See Luzio 

Reumont, A., Rom., ii. 266 n., 312 n. 

Revere, i. 26, 69 

Rhodes, Island of, ii. 14 

Riario, Cardinal, i. 233 

Riccio, Antonio, i. 165 

Richelieu, Cardinal, ii. 390 

Richter, D., i. 321 n. 

Rimini, surrender of, i. 187 

Roberti, Ercole, i. 88 ; employed to 
decorate the halls of Belriguardo, 
12 ; decoration of the wedding 
chests, 14 

Rocca di Lonato, the, ii. 96 ; di Ser- 
mione, 98 

Rocco, Fra, the Milanese goldsmith, 
i. 14 

Rodolfo, accident to, ii. 108 

Rodomonte, Luigi, ii. 148, 260 ; 
rescues Isabella Colonna, 308 ; 
secret marriage, 308; his death, 

Rodomonte, Vespasiano, ii. 375 

Romagna, Duke of, i. 230. See Borgia 

Romagna, 1. 112; conquest of, 187 

Romano, Eccelino, the tyrant, ii 145 

Romano, Giovanni Cristoforo, i. 132; 
his work on the Certosa of Pavia, 
164 ; his bust of Beatrice, 164 ; 
marble door in the Grotta, 165; 
ii. 205 ; busts of Isabella, i. 165 ; 
portrait-medal, 166 ; his monument 
to Suor Osanna, 275 ; on the birth 
of Isabella's second son, 277 ; in- 
curable malady, ii. 1 ; at Milan, 2 ; 
on Caradosso'a bowl and inkstand, 
2; in Rome, 5, 7; at Naples, 12; 
his medals, 13 ; employed to re- 
build the Campanile of Loreto, 13 ; 
death, 13 

Romano, Giulio, ii. 239, 245; his 
monument to Castiglione, 271 ; de- 
corations of Mantua, 323 ; freacoes 
of the story of Psyche, 325 ; deco- 
rations at the Oastello, 336 ; choice 
of pictures, 338 ; his portrait of 
Federico, 338 ; on erecting a bridge, 

Rome, visits to, i. 181; ii. 110, 116; 
fetes in, i. 195 ; rising of the Orsini, 
250 ; outbreak of plague, 269 ; ii. 
224, 269; carnival at, 70; mas- 
querade, 71 ; invasion of the Im- 
perialists, 252 ; siege, 258 ; sack of 
the city, 259-262, 264 

Rosena, i. 167 

Rossetti, Biagio, i. 57 ; Ii. 371 

Rossi, v., (Horn., i. 47 n. ; Mutiea in 
Urbino, ii. 280 n. 

Rosso, Castello, i. 1 

Rothschild, M. Alphonse de, ii. 368 

Rovere, Francesco Maria della, i. 
229, 244; heir to the duchy of 
Urbino, 259; his betrothal, 267; 
succeeds to the duchy, 307. Set 

Rovere, Giovanni della, i. 329 



Rovere, Giovanni della, Prefect of 

Rome, i. 40, 258 
Rovere, Cardinal Giuliano della, i. 

229, 255 ; proclaimed Pope, 258 
Rubens, Peter Paul, his copy of 

Titian's portrait of Isabella d'Este, 

ii. 284 ; of Francia's portrait, 356 
Rusca, Conntess Eleonora, ii. 285 

Sabbioneta, principality of, i. 37 
Sacchetta, villa of, i. 279 ; submerged, 

ii. 342 
Sadoleto, ii. 166; papal secretary, 

247 ; on the ruin of Rome, 270 
Sainte-Baume, pilgrimage to the 
shrine of St. Mary Magdalene at, 
ii. 133 
Salai, i. 320, 326; his opinion on 
Perugino's picture, 335; offers his 
services, 336 
Salerno, Prince Ferrante of, ii. 317 
Salimbeni, Antonio, i. 75, 100 
Sal5, i. 50; ii. 100, 101, 363 
Saluzzo, Marquis of, ii. 351 
Sancte, Zohan de. See Santi, Gio- 
SanseVfcrino, Antonio Maria di, i. 154 
Sanseverino, Cardinal di, i. 268 ; 

sponsor, 178 
Sanseverino, Galeazzo di, i. 142 ; ii. 
244 ; controversy with, Isabella 
d'Este, i. 76 ; Grand Ecuyer de 
France, 296 ; .^t Muntpelier, ii. 182 
Sanseverino, Guspare di, 50, 148 
Sanseverino, Madonna Margherita di, 

i. l.';4, 298 ; ii. 2, 145 
Sansovino, M. Giacomo, ii. 275 
Santi, Giovanni, his portrait of Isa- 
bella d'Este, i. 92; death, 111 
Sanuto, Marino, i. 120, 136, 139, 141; 
on the arrival of Isabella d'Este in 
Venice, ii. 234; Diarii, i. 146 n., 
149 n., 197 n., 204 n., 222 n., 225 n., 
240 n., 263 n.; ii. 55 n., 123 «., 131 
n., 138 n., 155 n., 188 n., 198 n., 
228 n., 230 n., 234 n., 238 n., 256 
n., 263 n., 264 n., 266 n., 268 n., 
296 n., 308 n., 319 n., 323 n., 326 
n., 334 n., 336 n., 342 n„ 343 n., 
349 n., 351 n. 
Sarto, Andrea del, ii. 245 
Savelli, Cardinal, i. 181 
Savoie, Louise de, ii. 233, 293 
Savonarola, his Miserere, i. 80 
Savoy, Beatrice of Portugal, Duchess 
of, at Bologna, ii. 318; her ap- 
pearance, 319 ; fete, 321 
Savoy, Bona of, i. 33 
Savoy, Charles, Duke of, i. 297 ; at the 
coronation of Charles V., ii. 313, 
315 ; appearance, 319 

Sbernia or mantle, i. 54 
Scala, Isola della, ii. 32 
Scalona, Battista, i. 101, 347, 352; 

ii. 39 
Scarampa, Camilla, ii. 141 
Scartino, i. 94 
Schifanoia or Sans Souci, L 12, 57; 

ii. 358 
Schinner, Cardinal, ii. 57, 194; at 

Milan, 81 
Schivenoglia, A., the Mantuan 

Chronicler, i. 5 ; on the reception 

of the Marquis of Mantua, 5 ; 

Cronaca di Mantova, 30 n.; on the 

plague, 283 
Scodella or bowl, ii. 368 
Scufiotti or caps, ii. 366 
Sebastiano, Church of S., i. 26 ; ii. 59 
Sebastiano, San, palace of, i. 106, 

143, 287, 289 
Secchia, river, i. 59 
Secondo, Jacopo di San, the viol- 
player, i. 102 
Selvapiena, i. 167 
Serafino, Fra, his poems, i. 170 ; 

sends Isabella d'Este a marble 

figure, ii. 5 
Serassi, Lettere di Castiglione, i. 153 n., 

254 n.; ii. 186 n., 187 n.; Lettere di 

Ne(jozi, 192 n., 195 n., 210 n., 231 

n.,236 n., 238 n. 
Sermide, i. 217 
Sermione, i. 50; ii. 97, 100, 107, 

363 ; classic gardens of, i. 50 
Serravalle, Vicar of, i. 290 
Sesso, Mes.ser Carlo da, i. 188 
Sestola, Girolamo da, his singing 

lessons to Isabella d'Este, i. 86 ; 

on the visit of Titian to Mantua, 

ii. 171 ; on the death of Ariosto, 

347 ; his letters from Ferrara, 358 
Sforza, Anna, i. 15 ; her marriage, 

55 : entry into Ferrara, 57 ; death, 

Sforza, Cardinal Ascanio, i. 63, 155, 

Sforza, Beatrice, Duchess of Milan, 

birth of her sons, i. 65, 96, 114; 

sponsor, 105 ; death, 140 ; her 

bust, 164. See Milan 
Sforza, Duchess Bianca, i. 31 
Sforza, Bona, i. 4, 40; her betrothal, 

ii. 114; marriage, 114. jSee Milan 
Sforza, Caterina, i. 105 
Sforza, Francesco, ii. 66, 184 ; his 

birth, i. 114. See Milan 
Sforza, Gianpaolo, i. 374 
Sforza, Giovanni, lord of Pesaro, hii 

betrothal, i. 42 ; marriage, 45 ; 

death of his wife, 52 ; dissolution 

of his second marriage, 187; flies 



to Mantua, 187; at Milan, 235; on 

the death of the Pope, 254 
Sforza, Ippolita, i. 374 ; her marriage, 

Sforza, Lodovico, i. 5 ; his betrothal, 

5 ; wedding, 55 ; sponsor, 105 ; 

proclaimed Duke of Milan, 114. 

See Milan 
Sforza, Maximilian, his claims to the 

Duchy of Milan, ii. 66. See Milan 
Sforza, Tristan, i. 83 
Shakespeare, lines from, ii. 250 
Sicco, Stefano, i. 50 
Siena, ii. 117, 255; racea at, i. 63; 

attack on, 244 
Sigismund, Emperor, at Mantua, i. 

20, 24 
Silvestri, Frate Francesco, General of 

the Dominican Order, i. 79, 277 ; on 

the education of Federico Gonzaga, 

276 ; ii. 33 ; at Porto, 140 
Silvestri, Guido, ii. 51 
Sinigaglia, ii. 244 ; massacre of, i. 

Soardino, Jacopo, ii. 39 
Soardo, Cavaliere, ii. 144 
Soderini, Madonna Argentina, i. 327 
Soderini, Giovanni, at the Congress 

of Mantua, ii. 65 
Soderini, Gonfaloniere Piero, i. 274, 

Solari, Cristoforo, at Mantua, ii. 

139 ; his design of a fountain, 

139 ; death, 139 
Solarolo, ii. 296; administration of, 

Solferino, ii. 95 
Solmi, Signer, i. 321 n. 
Soranzo, Ser Piero, at Mantua, ii. 

Soranzo, Zuan, i. 139 
Bordello, Piazza, ii. 131 
Soubise, Madame de, ii. 288 ; her 

influence on the Duchess Rende, 

Spagnoli, Battista, the Mantuan 

Carmelite, i. 79 ; his bust, 176 
Spain, Queen Isabella of, her funeral, 

i. 268 
Sperandio, i. 82 ; his medals, 12, 124 
Spice Islands, ii. 225 
Spinola, Messer Cristoforo, i. 64 
Spoleto, i. 196, 228 
Stabellino, ii. 331 ; on the return of 

Isabella d'Este's portrait, 854 ; his 

letters from Ferrara, 358 ; on 

Tullia of Aragon, 384 
Stampa, Count Maximilian, ii. 334 
Stanga, Marchesino, i. 64, 148, 164 
Stefano, Prete, ii. 130 
Stellata, i. 218 

Stoppino, Fra, i. 2G5 

Strange, Mr. Guy le, i. 122 

Strascino, ii. 149; his comic recita- 
tions, 206 ; farce, 388 

Strozza, Agostino, i. 334 ; on Peru- 
gino's absence, 336 

Strozzi, Ercole, i. 129, 199, 272; 
murdered, 312; his epigram on 
the Sleeping Cupid, 315 

Strozzi, Giambattista, on the dis- 
covery of the New World, i. 95 

Strozzi, Guido, his wedding, i. 98 

Strozzi, Lorenzo, ii. 81 

Strozzi, Tito, i. 98 

Strozzi, Tommaso, ii. 133, 144 

Suffolk, Duke of, ii. 174, 175 

Sweating sickness, outbreak of, ii. 

Tahl silk, i. 121 

Tapestries, i. 15, 17 

Taro, battle of the, i. 118 

Tasso, Bernardo, ii. 289 ; his Epitha- 
lamium, 333; II Libra degli Amori, 
347 ; appointed Governor of 
Ostiglia, 348 

Tasso, Torquato, ii. 348 

Tfe, meadows of the, ii. 131 ; palace, 
239, 377 ; Piazza, 138 

Tebaldeo, Antonio, i. 81, 166, 313 ; on 
Isabella d'Este's verses, 81 ; his 
epitaph on Mattello, 134 ; verses, 
ii. 87-91 

Tedaldo, Castel, i. 202 

Temistan, ii. 225 

Teodora, Madonna, i. 144, 201 

Terence, " Andria," ii. 116 

Terni, i. 196 

Testagrossa, Angelo, i. 129 ; ii. 38, 

Thon, De, on the statue of Cupid, i. 
233 ; ii. 6 

Tiber, statue of the river-god, ii. 60 

Titian, his portrait of Isabella d'Este, 
i. 9 ; ii. 284 ; at Mantua, i. 391 ; ii. 
171, 227; his pictures, 227, 228, 
229, 327-330, 339 ; commissions, 
327 ; death of his wife, 327 ; on 
the marriage of the Duke of Man- 
tua, 333 ; his portrait of Federico, 
339 ; of the Duke and Duchess of 
Urbino, 375 ; copies Francia's por- 
trait of Isabella, 353-356 

Toledo, Don Pedro de, at the corona- 
tion of Charles V., ii. 315 

Tonso, Benedetto, ii. 203 

Torelli, Barbara, murder of her 
husband, i. 312 

Torelli, Ippolita, her marriage, ii. 131 ; 
birth of a son, 146 

Torre, Amico della, ii. 131 



Torre, Marco della, ii. 2 

Tortosa, Cardinal of, elected Pope, ii. 

Tosabezzi, Benedetto, i. 164 ; receives 
notice to leave Milan, 189 

Toscana, Eaffaelle, his poem on the 
Studio of the Grotta, i. 158 

Tovaglia, Angelo del, sketch of his 
house, i. 318 ; letter from Isabella 
d'Este, 323 

Tremoglia, M., i. 257 

Tremoli, Duca di, ii. 308 

Tr^mouille, La, i. 250 ; ii. 244 ; de- 
feated at Novara, 93 

Trent, Bishop of, ii. 313 

Trent, ii. 326 

Trevisano, Franceschino, i. 219 

Trevisano, M. Niccolo, i. 219 

Triboulet, the court-jester, ii. 130 ; 
portrait of, 41 

Tricarico, M., ii. 160 

Tridapale, Giovanni Francesco, secre- 
tary to Isabella d'Este, ii. 243 ; on 
the quintain races, 291 

Tripalda, Marchese, his wedding, ii. 

Trissino, Giangiorgio, on the appear- 
ance of Isabella d'Este, i. 9 ; on 
the sweetness of her voice, 11 ; his 
Ritratti, ii. 102-105; at Mantua, 
138, 212 ; on the tyrant Eccelino 
Romano, 145 ; sends Isabella a 
canzone, 210 ; at Bologna, 304 ; oq 
the state of his garden at Cricoli, 

Trivulzio, Gian Giacomo, i. 156, 298 ; 
his advance to the relief of the Duke 
of Ferrara, ii. 51 ; seizes Bologna, 
52 ; defeated at Novara, 93 

Trivulzio, Messer Teodora di, i. 238 

Trotti, Ferrarese envoy and agent, 1. 
55,81; ii. 21 

Trotti, Brandelisio, i. 62; on Isabella 
d'Este's departure, 51 

Trovaso, San, i. 98 

Tiibingen, University of, i. 33 

Tucca, Messer Giovanni, secretary to 
Alfonso d'Avalos, ii. 352 

Tnra, Cosimo, his portrait of Isabella 
d'Este, i. 4; frescoes, 12 

Tuscany, conquest of, i. 244 

Tuscullano, i. 50 ; ii. 101 

Tuttavilla, Girolamo, i. 64 

Tyande, M. de, ii. 39 

Tyrol, Alps of, i. 22 

T^one, ii. 177 

Ubebti, Lodovico, i. 105 
Umbria, i. 236 

Urbino, Elisabetta Gonzaga, Duchess 
of, attachment to her home, i. 44 ; 

ill-health, 45 ; appearance, 45 ; 
affection for Isabella, 48, 101 ; 
character, 49 ; death of her sisters, 
52, 253 ; illness, 67, 68 ; postpone- 
ment of her visit to Mantua, 
67-69; reception, 69; return to 
Urbino, 106, 128, 259 ; at Gubbio, 
109 ; on the death of Giovanni 
Santi, 111 ; at Mantua, 124, 140, 
224 ; on her visit to Rome, 180, 301 ; 
reception of Lucrezia Borgia, 196 ; 
costume, 204 ; visits to Venice, 
217-224, 240 ; at Porto, 227 ; straits 
for money, 240 ; visit of the Roman 
court, 302 ; death of her husband, 
307 ; grief, 308 ; intercession for 
Francesco Mantegna, 370 ; her por- 
trait, '39'2; attack of gout, ii. 36; 
on the conduct of Tebaldo, 91 ; 
audience with Leo X., 126; exiled 
for the second time, 128; allow- 
ance, 129 ; her death, 249 ; tributes 
to her memory, 250 

Urbino, Federico, Duke of, i. 4, 15, 

Urbino, Francesco Maria, Duke of, 
succeeds to the title, i. 307 ; at 
Mantua, 309; meeting with Leo- 
nora, 310; violent temper, 311; 
presents to Isabella, 311 ; in com- 
mand of the papal forces, 380 ; 
summoned to lead the troops 
against Ravenna, ii. 35 ; at Rome, 
42 ; murders Cardinal Alidosi, 52 ; 
biton of Papal Gonfaloniere with- 
drawn, 125 ; summoned to Rome, 
126 ; charges against, 126 ; excom- 
municated and deprived of his 
states, 127; at Pietola, 127; per- 
mitted to reside at Mantua, 129; 
attempt to recover his dominions, 
132 ; terms with Francis I., 132 ; 
forced to leave Mantua, 189; at 
Verona, 190 ; Magnzano, 191 ; re- 
storation, 192 ; proposed marriage 
of his son, 198; affection for his 
aunt Isabella, 201 ; appointed 
General of the Venetian army, 231, 
251,374; takes Cremona, 351 ; in- 
capacity, 265 ; entry into Urbino, 
313 ; at the coronation of Charles 
v., 315; his portrait, 375; death, 

Urbino, Guidobaldo, Duke of, i. 40 ; 
his tapestries, 17 ; his betrothal, 
42 ; appearance and character, 44 ; 
illness, 68 ; at Gubbio, 109 ; his 
reception of Lucrezia Borgia, 196 ; 
flight to Mantua, 229 ; at Milan, 
235 ; forced to leave Mantua, 240 ; 
at Venice, 240 ; attempt to recover 




his throne, 241 ; attack of illness, 
241 ; return to Urbino, 254 ; ap- 
pointed Oaptain-general of the 
Church, 258 ; Order of the Garter 
conferred, 270 ; his death, 306 ; 
requiem mass, 307 

Urbino, Signor Guidobaldo, ii. 127 ; 
his proposed marriage, 198 ; hos- 
tage, 200 ; his marriage, 366 

Urbino, Leonora, Duchess of, birth 
of a son, ii. 29 ; at Rome, 42 ; char- 
acter, 43 ; at Bologna, 313 ; her 
beauty, 313, 319 ; birth of her son 
Giulio, 365 ; marriage of her son 
Guidobaldo, 366 ; at Mantua, 374 ; 
portrait, 375; death of her hus- 
band, 375 

Urbino, Raphael of, his dealings with 
Isabella d'Este, ii. 274-276 

Urbino, Duchy of, seizure, i. 228 ; 
annexed to the Papal States, ii. 160 

Urbino, palace of, i. 110 ; plays, 264 ; 
manufacture of majolica, ii. 367 

Vaila, defeat at, ii. 31 

Valentino, Duke, i. 179. See Borgia 

Valentinois, Duke of, i, 152 

Valeric, Messer Carlo, i. 223, 290 

Valerio, Zuan, i. 272, 354 ; ii. 369 ; at 
Bologna, 305 

Valtelline Alps, i. 155 

Varana, Giulia, her marriage, ii. 366 

Varana, Maria, i. 311 

Varese, Frate Raphael da, i. 222 

Vasari, on Leonardo da Vinci's car- 
toon, i. 320 ; his estimate of Peru- 
gino, 337; on Costa's portraits, 
377; on the comedy "Calandria," 
ii. 113; on Raphael's portrait of 
Leo X., 245 ; on the masquerades 
at Mantua, 350 

Vasto, Marchese del, ii. 311, 323 ; 
invested with the Order of the 
Golden Fleece, 350 ; letter from 
Isabella d'Este, 352 

Velletri, ii. 269 

Venetians, defeat at Vaila, ii. 31 ; 
recover Padua, 32; senators, em- 
bassy of, 311 

Venice, war with, i. 5 ; Ascension- 
tide fetes, 97 ; ii. 188, 234 ; espousals 
of, with the sea, i. 100 ; rejoicings 
at, 121 ; armistice and treaty with 
France, 138, 151; visits to, 218; 
ii. 228, 234, 326, 344, 346 ; sights 
of, i. 220; absolution of, ii. 42 

Venice, Correr Museum at, ii. 368 

Venice, Doge of, sponsor, i. 105 

Venier, Domenico, ii. 247 ; taken 
prisoner, 263; his ransom, 263; 
at Mantua, 268 ; escape, 268 

Venier, Marco Antonio, ii. 324 

Venturi, A., Archivio St. d. Arte, i. 
375 n. ; ii. 2 n., 10 n. ; on Cara- 
dosso's inkstand, 4 n. 

Venus, torso of, i. 230 

Vercelli, Bishop of, ii. 336 

Vercelli, i. 123 

Verdelino, Abbey of, ii. 180 

Vergerio, Paolo, De Educando Liberit, 
i. 174 

Verona, Colombino of, i. 41 

Verona, i. 101, 142, 224; ii. 32, 

Vettori, Francesco, Storia d^ Italia, ii. 
67 n. 

Viana, i. 261 

Vianello, Michele, i. 341 ; correspon- 
dence on Giovanni Bellini, 342- 
347 ; death, 360 ; sale of his cabin- 
etto, 360 

Viani, the architect, ii. 204 

Vicenza, i. 101 ; ii. 32 

Vicovaro, ii. 375 

Vigevano, i. 58 ; taken by the French, 
ii. 232 

Vigilio, Francesco, i. 186 ; his comedy, 
262 ; tutor to Federico, ii. 45 ; on 
his progress, 121-123 ; funeral ora- 
tion on the Marquis of Mantua, 

Vincenzo II., Duke, sells his collection 
of pictures to Charles I., i. 162 ; ii. 

Vincenzo, Dominican Convent of S., 
i. 263 

Vinci, Leonardo da, i. 132, 155, 170 ; 
portrait of Isabella d'Este, 171 ; 
his study of hydraulics, 279 ; at 
Milan, 296, 327; sketch of the 
house of Angelo del Tovaglia, 318 ; 
his cartoons, 319, 320, 323 ; ab- 
sorption in geometrical studies, 
320 ; on Lorenzo dei Medici's vases, 
322; letters from Isabella, 324, 
325 ; at Fiesole, 326 ; his portrait 
of Cecilia Gallerani, 341 

Violante, Madonna, i. 310 

Virgil, his birthplace, i. 22 ; erection 
of a statue to, 173-176 

Visconti, Messer Antonio, i. 130 

Visconti, Filippo, Duke of Milan, i. 

Visconti, Francesco Bernardino, L 

Visconti, Gasparo, i. 84 

Vite, Timoteo, ii. 368 

Vitellozzo, murdered, i. 244 

Viterbo, Cardinal Egidio of, i. 255 

Viterbo, Sister Lucia of, i. 207 

Viterbo, ii. 255 ; battles of, i. 67 ; 
French army at, 265 



Waagen, Dr., Kunstwerke in England, 

ii. 162 n. 
Whitehall, tournament at, ii. 175; 

banquet, 175 
Wolsey, Cardinal, ii. 174 
World, discovery of the New, i. 

Wiirtemberg, Count Eberhard von, 

founder of the University of 

Tubingen, i. 33 
Wnrtemberg, Duke of, ii. 312 

Yriarte, Charles, i. 171, Oazette des B. 
Arts, 159 n., 162 n., 327 n., 329 n., 
342 n., 356 n., 361 n., 372 n. ; ii. 20 n., 
39 n. ; Isabella d'Este, i. 101 n. ; his 
model of Isabella d'Este's Studio, 
ii. 206 71. 

Zaccaria, Church of S., i. 100 
Zambotto, Oronaca, i. 206 n, 
Zampeluna, ii. 5 
Zaninello, Giaufrancesco, his gift to 

Isabella d'Este, i. 387 ; presented 

\7ith her portrait, 388 ; lends the 

portrait to be copied by Titian, ii. 

Zeeland, ii. 177, 182 
Zeno, Church of S., at Lonato, ii. 

Ziliolo, Bartolomeo, ii. 366 ; commis 

sion from Isabella d'Este, i. 72 
Zoccolanti, Convent, i. 229 
Zoiosa, Casa, or Maison Joyeute, i. 21 
Zoppo, M. Paolo, i. 354, 356 
Zorzi, Marino, his description of 

Cardinal Sigismondo, ii. 194 
Zucchetti, Lucrezia Boryia, ii. 158 n. 



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